Russia's FSB colonel Igor Strelkov openly stated: "I Am Responsible for War in Eastern Ukraine". “I was the one who pressed the trigger of that war. If our unit had not crossed the border, it would have all ended as it did in Kharkiv or Odesa. Several dozen casualties, those with burns and those arrested. And that would have been the end of it… It was practically our unit, which got this ongoing war moving.”
In April 2014, Strelkov, joined by armed irregulars from Russia, marched from Crimea to the provincial city of Sloviansk, which is strategically located between the population centers of Donetsk and Kharkiv. "In the beginning, nobody there wanted to fight," Strelkov recalls. He and his men attacked a police station in Sloviansk and created facts on the ground. Later, he became the so-called defense minister of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic.
The essence of the interview is a confessionary statement by Girkin-Strelkov claiming that nowar in East and South Ukraine would have taken place without the involvement of terrorists sent from Russia, and in particular, the group that he commanded. A close translation of his statement reads: “I was the one who pressed the trigger of that war. If our unit had not crossed the border, it would have all ended as it did in Kharkiv or Odesa. Several dozen casualties, those with burns and those arrested. And that would have been the end of it… It was practically our unit, which got this ongoing war moving.”
Regarding the local population, which, according to the Russian propaganda, “stood up to protect the Russian world against the Ukrainian fascists,” the Girkin-Strelkov’s story of this goes as follows: “No-one wanted to make war at first… but in April and May [of 2014] everything was building up, and the rebellion area was expanding. We (!) were gradually taking control of populated areas of the Donetsk Republic.”
The “we” pronoun that Girkin uses to refer to the group of Russian terrorists under his own command means a lot in this case. It was precisely “them,” the Russian mercenaries, who “took control of” the Donbas.
According to the “DNR’s Minister for Defense,” this is what was going on in Donetsk before Girkin’s mercenaries marched in: “When we came into Donetsk, everything was just fine there. There was a mayor from Kyiv, the Department of Internal Affairs was still under Kyiv’s command… Donetsk was a totally peaceful city at that time. People were sunbathing on the beaches, sportsmen working out, drinking coffee at the cafe’s. Donetsk looked just like Moscow in summer… My soldiers were eager to seize and disperse all these civilians in the rear.”
Further important evidence from Girkin relates to the crucial role of the Russian troops, referred to in the interview as “vacationers.” It is obvious they are serving Russian military personnel, and not ex-members of the armed forces or security services, who Girkin clearly distinguishes from his own army which is composed of the “vacationers” and local militia. The phrases “managed to hold on till the “vacationers” came” and “Mariupol was mainly attacked by the ‘vacationers’” and similar indicate that the former “DNR’s Minister for Defense” openly acknowledges that the main forces that are against Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk are the serving troops of the Russian army disguised under the name of “vacationers.”
Girkin’s statements about his constantly receiving “commands” and “instructions,” which he attempted to strictly follow, are also of importance. Girkin refutes entirely the propaganda voice on air at the federal level that the initial objective of the whole “Novorossiya” project was to set up an independent state when he says, “First I expected the Crimean scenario – that Russia was going to take over. That was the best option. And the local population was hoping for it. No one cared to fight for the Luhansk or the Donetsk Republics.”