Locals are refusing to collaborate with Russian forces as they storm the Donetsk airport, says Communist Party member Alexander Negrabetskikh – a city council deputy and Chechen War veteran from the Russian city of Zlatoust, currently operating in a terrorist “volunteer” cell in Donetsk.
Now in Ukraine, he is part of a unit involved in storming the Donetsk airport – 90% of which are Russian, half being Siberian and half from the Urals; with the remainder being self-identified Russians from Donetsk. In whole he says 7,500 men are involved in the current battle, which he says would be better handled with smaller, specialist groups. He admits his unit suffered heavy losses while attacking Ukrainian forces defending the airport on Wednesday, saying his men came under heavy shelling.
Negrabetskikh says he is fighting in Ukraine because he is a “Russian patriot” and defending racial Slavs. “I’ll be there to protect brother Slavs and Russian land from the Nazis,” he explained. “If we do not, then sooner or later this fascist abscess would come to us.”
He claims that Ukraine’s forces are replete “Poles and Germans,” a conspiracy which Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dismissed. Russian media has loudly implicated Poland in other conspiracies on national television.
The reason for his unit being almost entirely foreign with little actual Donetsk citizens is that support for the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) is low, he concedes, a sentiment previously echoed by Russian terrorist leader Igor Girkin. In Negrabetskikh’s words, he was shocked at how few locals would collaborate with Russians to “protect” their land, or in other words, join the DNR. “They go to Russia, and we come here!” he exclaimed.
Ultimately, many he talked to simply care about pensions, not allegiances. Ukraine’s government has stated that public sector salaries and pensions will not be disbursed in occupied territory, while DNR officials have said salaries and pensions are being paid on time, without indicating where the vast funding was coming from.