Donetsk, Peace Talks, Ukraine Politics

Zakharchenko: Ukraine Will Understand What It Means to Be Under Shelling. (Video)

DPR PM: Real Combat May Develop in the Streets of Kiev

Quemado Institute
September 14, 2015

Alexander Zakharchenko

Alexander Zakharchenko

Donetsk People’s Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko gave a 12-minute press conference on Saturday, September 12, 2015. Among other topics, he explained issues of the coming October 18 elections, especially as they relate to the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements. He stressed that the provisions of the agreements must be satisfied by the end of 2015, and significantly made no mention of the extensions into 2016 that have been proposed by Denis Pushilin and Vladimir Putin.

The DPR Prime Minister goes on to discuss the import of the August 31 riot outside the Verkhovna Rada in Kiev, saying, “I really feel sorry for the city of Kiev, because real combats may develop in the streets of this city in the near future. Street combats are scary. Ukraine will understand what it means, to be under shelling. Explosions of true grenades, not pop-guns. A sharp phase of the conflict seems to be ahead. There’s a high probability that it will be soon.”

Zakharchenko also cautions about low morale in the Ukrainian Armed Forces: “Many militaries who are (or were) in the ATO zone understand clearly against who they fight and what’s happening. Earlier, one of ten soldiers could say ‘Poroshenko is a scoundrel.’ Now, 100% of soldiers at the frontline are speaking openly about this.”

The 12-minute video of the press conference with English subtitles, along with a brief introduction, is available at Below is a partial transcript of the subititles.

Click here for video:

Partial Transcript of Subtitles

DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko
September 12, 2015 Video Press Conference

Zakharchenko: I’m glad to see all of you. First I’d like to deny rumours about a referendum. No referendum on joining the Russian Federation is planned on 18th October. These rumors are distributed by the Ukrainian mass media. Local elections are under preparation in accordance with the Constitution and legislatin of the Donetsk People’s republic. These totally comply with the letter and spirit of the Minsk agreements. Kyiv authorities have said that hese elections have no juridical force. This is not true, since we should carry out elections according to the Minsk agreements. It was emphasized that the elections should be coordinated with us. But this hasn’t been done. So, we carry out ourselves the elections according to the Minsk agreements.

Why on 18th october? It’s convenient for us. Our neighbors are doing this a bit later, maybe due to technical problems. The basic issues of the Minsk agenda are being implemented. The results of the implementations of the Minsk agreements should be summaraized by the end of the year. Everything that was signed in Minsk shold be accomplished by the end of the year. As of today, we implement all the agreements signed in Minsk as we understand them. This is principal.

[.. Zakharchenko talks for some moments about the opening of schools in the DPR on September 1.]

If you have any questions, you’re welcome [to ask].

Question: OSCE representatatives have been invited to the elections in the DPR. Will any observers from other countries be invited too?

Zakharchenko: We sent invitations to the same countries as the last time: Italy, France. The OSCE hasn’t responded yet whether or not they are going to arrive. I think the others will come as they came the last time.

[Stansislav Retinskii, Ministry of Information, asks questions about the economy and the rouble, which Zakharchenko answers in some detail. …]

Question: There were a few days of “silence” according to a joint agreement with the Ukrainian side. What do you think, how long will this silence last?

Zakharchenko: The silence in our region means loud events in Kyiv. It’s a joke. Our situation shifts toward the city of Kyiv. We signed an agreement that school classes should start the 1st of September. Unfortunately last night [September 11-12] the silence was already broken. Our boys were shelled yesterday. We responded, shelling back. I got up at 4 a.m. Indeed, the silence was on the 1st of September, but the silence was broken in the night from the 1st to 2nd September. They shelled Spartak, Dokuchaevsk, and suburbs of Gorlovka.

The probability of conflict is very high. Let’s look at what happened in Kyiv on August 31. The rally of radicals and the attack on the Verkhovna Rada were sort of demos which showed other facts. The last Maidan used Molotov cocktails, batons, chains, seldom pistols and sniper rifles. Now, fighting grenades and automatic weapons were used in the first protest. My congratulations, Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko, You’ve equipped your people with armaments and this weapon already shoots against you. You’ve reached what you wanted.

I think Kyiv just needs a conflict in this situation. I’ll explain why. First, to draw away the population of Ukraine from economic problems, which Bankovoya street itself faces now. The prinicipal thing is to send soldiers to the front, not to let them go to Kyiv. Here, there’s a problem. Many militaries who are (or were) in the ATO zone understand clearly against who they fight and what’s happening. Earlier, one of ten soldiers could say “Poroshenko is a scoundrel.” Now, 100% of soldiers at the frontline are speaking openly about this. This was shown by the battalion “Sich” that left for Kyiv. I think other battalions will join it soon.

I really feel sorry for the city of Kiev, because real combats may develop in the streets of this city in the near future. Street combats are scary. Ukraine will understand what it means to be under shelling. Explosions of true grenades, not pop-guns. A sharp phase of the conflict seems to be ahead. There’s a high probability that it will be soon. Thank you. Another question?

[… Questions about the ruble, technical economic issues, real estate taxes, and heating for the winter are answered by Zakharchenko.]

Question: It’s not so much time will the 18th of October. When will the procedure of candidate registration start? When will the commissions begin to work?

Zakharchenko: According to the procedure a month before.

Question: Will there be any territories in the DPR without elections to local councils?

Zakharchenko: There are doubts concering some districts, which are at the line of contact. Their territory is located partly on both sides of the contact. Maybe these parts of districts will be attached to other districts. This question is under consideration. Or a temporary control may be introduced in these districts. to allow elections to be held there in the future.

Question: Could you specify these districts?

Zakharchenko: These are Debaltsevo, Gorlovka, Dokuchaevsk and Telmanovo. There are settlement councils. The the war is in th middle of the settlements. How can we elect settlement councils there? Any more questions?

End of Press Conference.


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