Pravda.Ru correspondent in Donbass Daria Aslamova visited the contact line and met with a volunteer from the Czech Republic who, along with his wife, is fighting on the side of Russia. The man tried to explain why he has been defending Donbass for eight years, how Ukrainian propaganda outstripped that of Russia and when the NATO army appeared in Ukraine.
"Why did you come to Donbass from the Czech Republic?"
"I am a child of the Soviet Union. I was born in Czechoslovakia, in Prague. Czechoslovakia was linked to the Soviet Union. Our second state language was Russian. At school, we were taught to speak Russian from the fourth grade."
"What is your occupation?"
"I am a veterinarian, but I have to provide medical assistance to people as well. Even my commander was one of my patients."
"Your call sign is Behemoth. Do you reveal your name?"
"Why not? My name is Yury. I do not have to hide. In the Czech Republic, I was sentenced to 20 years for "terrorism", for participating in the special operation. It was not only me who was sentenced to 20 years — they did it to all the Czechs who have been here. There is only one country in the world to have done that — the Czech Republic."
"Does it mean that you can't go back to Prague?"
"I never wanted to go back. I have a Russian passport. My wife is Russian."
"Where did you meet your wife?"
"In Cyprus. She came there when I lived there too. The Czech Republic was not good for me from the point of view of my mindset."
"What does your wife do?"
"She is a good quality grenade launcher. She has been here since 2015."
"Awesome! Why did you decide to come here anyway?"
"We decided to come to Chernihiv, where our friends were living. Unfortunately, I saw all those bastards, Nazis. They had a detachment there. Back in the day, there were UAZ vehicles there with St. George ribbons on them. We lived in Chernihiv for four months in 2014.
"There was no propaganda from the Russian side. Pro-Russian people could tell me anything. I simply could not figure out that the Ukrainians were already Ukes. I was at the Victory Parade in Kyiv, and local folks told me: you Czechs are so friendly, but you betrayed us, the Czech Republic is part of NATO now. I have many friends Russians, Ukrainians. And now I keep getting messages from my former friends, the Ukes, who tell me that they would be dancing on my bones. They used to be pro-Russian, but now they are Nazis."
"Is that how the Ukrainian propaganda works?"
"It does, the Russians have missed it. It started after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but he FSB was not doing anything about it, while the SBU was working in full swing. You are not waging an information war at all."
"Agreed. So the Czechs have to come and wage an information war for us?"
"The Czech Republic no longer exists as a country, because it has nothing of its left there. Almost all property belongs to Germans. The Czechs are slaves in their own country."
"NATO supplies Ukraine with weapons now. Do you think soldiers from Eastern Europe will also be fighting here?"
"They are already part of the problem. What makes no difference whether you supply weapons or conduct actual combat actions. They are already here, they are involved. Do you think that it is the Ukrainians who maintain Vampire systems? It is the Czech Republic that does those works, of course. This is a very complex MLRS installation, a self-loading one.
"NATO soldiers have been there for a long time. Back in 2015, the Czech army was training the Ukrainian army how to operate an artillery system. We heard them in radio interceptions. Those were not mercenaries, but Czech soldiers."
"Are there many Czechs here?"
"Yes. Three of them are buried at Saur-Mogila. I can't talk about them because their families will have problems."
Many in Russia reacted painfully to the disappearance of private military company Wagner from the information field