Interview with Vadik, 39. Director of operations of cases of particular importance of the Administration of organized crime control. Department of Terrorism and extremism control. (in Russian)
Interview was conducted in mid April 2015 in Odessa, Ukraine. Its transcript is based on audio recordings. All statements therein are from the people interviewed, of course we cannot guarantee their factual accuracy.
Q. What did you do in particular in the ATO zone?
A. Our tasks were to find, to detain and to liquidate, if it was necessary, those people on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian Army who worked as gunlayers or gathered information about the disposition of Ukrainian army. Also our work included the exposure and detention of separatists who were later delivered to the government bodies.
Q. Could you please briefly explain the methods of your work?
A. There were technicians who monitored social networks, contacted the Security Service of Ukraine reconnaissance etc. Furthermore, we cooperated with pro-Ukrainian population for the purpose of the exposure of separatists. After receiving the necessary information we revealed the location of the suspects with the help of special equipment and put them under arrest. Moreover, we detained those who were trying to make their way through the Ukrainian post in order to deliver the information to terrorists.
Our task also included the Fortress operation. In case of the separatists’ forces breach we had to organize the defense of the places where our forces were disposed.
Q. You received information from the civilians. How could you differentiate the true information from the false one? Could there be the cases when a person wanted to slander somebody else? What to do in this situation?
A. After we got information from the civilians, it was obligatory to examine it, to gather proofs and only after that to take measures. Without proofs we had no right to bring an accusation against somebody and to carry out the detention. After the detention, we brought to the court the suspect and the documents proving his fault, the court decision was taken there. I can not tell you the details, but I can say that being at the scene it is not difficult to carry out the examination. Moreover, if we made sure of the falsity of information, the informant bore the responsibility according to Ukrainian laws. The informants were very well aware about that.
Q. Which area did you embrace?
A. We were based in Selidovo city (population – 25, 000 ), but the territories of Pesok, Donetsk airport and the bordering territory were also within our competence.
I have to say that while there were no active operations on the territory which we were occupying, we obeyed the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. The regular army took dictations of the Ministry of Defense. And we united only in case of separatists attack. Our Headquarters was in Kramatorsk city. Our groups were dispersed in certain sectors. We were given certain tasks every day. We were always in contact with the Headquarters and in case of receiving any information we started fulfilling the mission after coordinating with the Headquarters.
We had an organized connection with the Regular Ukrainian Army, but we had only personal contacts with the Volunteer battalions, such as Right Sector (Pravy Sector) and Donbass-1 which were located not far from us. We became acquainted with each other and exchanged telephone numbers. We rarely had cooperated missions with them. They were independent.
Q. Did you have a special training before doing all that work in the ATO zone?
A. I have been working in similar special subdivisions for almost 20 years. Therefore it was somewhat easier for me. I was one of the first who went to the ATO.
Q. How many successful detentions did you carry out during your service in ATO?
A. I didn’t count. But I can say with confidence, there were several hundreds.
Q. Possibly, there are thousands of separatists, gunlayers and spies on the territory of Donbass. What is in your opinion the number of people you detained in percentage correlation?
A. It’s difficult to say the number, maybe 5-6% per month, maybe more, besides the works is being done constantly by large forces.
The difficulty is, there are many people who sympathize with separatists. We also felt the support all the time though, when civilians came to us and asked not to let the separatists in their cities. I remember the wives who told about their husbands, friends who were fighting on the terrorists’ side.
There were also cases when the terrorists called their friends (usually poor and unemployed, who were disposed to the alcoholism) who lived on the territory which was under the control of Ukrainian forces and threatened to take the respectable citizens’ houses and property off. These citizens in their turn came to us and complained.
Q. What is the current morale of our soldiers?
A. The support of close people is the most important thing for each person. Moreover, we understand the importance of our being there when the strangers come to us with expressions of gratitude and present us the small icons. The soldiers want to come back home of course, but we understand that the so called armistice will not last long. The terrorists constantly fire upon emplacements, our headquarters forbade us to shoot in response. I can say one thing, we protect our Motherland there and we are ready to stay till the last gun is fired!