“All to the ground! Valerie, let’s go! “- the bang that sounded somewhere nearby did not scare the commander by joke. The officer was afraid not for himself, but for a group of Romanian journalists, who agreed to take “on the front”. “Do you have a war or not?” They asked the military on the base. And the answer is now seen and felt themselves, here, in the forest belt, where still need to get to the dugouts, but it is impossible to leave, because the open area behind is well fired …
This was the culmination of the visit of Romanian media to Ukraine on June 1-5. But all in turn.
Security is an important sphere of cooperation between Ukraine and Romania
Invited journalists learned about all the issues of bilateral relations between Ukraine and Romania – they received candid answers to their questions in responsible ministries. Among the areas of cooperation that are of interest to both parties is security.
– With the occupation of Crimea, Ukraine has lost access to several nuclear facilities. Previously, Ukraine has guaranteed to its neighbors that these facilities are frozen or used solely for peaceful purposes. Now, as a nuclear power, Russia has resumed activity there. And this is a serious danger for Romania, – said Deputy Foreign Minister Egor Bozhok.
– The issue of security in the Black Sea region is an important area for cooperation between Ukraine and Romania .
Russia is turning the Crimea into a fortress, which ensures the domination of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea. It is not profitable either for Ukraine or Romania, – added Anatoliy Solovey, deputy director of the second European department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
What unites and divides
Until now, the two countries can not be united by rail. The planned launch of the Chernivtsi-Suceava train is again postponed.
– Because of the passive position of Ukrzaliznytsia, which does not have enough passenger trains, and the inactive position of the Romanian side
we have not yet been able to reach an agreement on the Chernivtsi-Suceava railway.
But, I think, this issue will be a priority of the new government, “said Victor Dovgan, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine. But soon the ferry crossing Orlovka – Isakche should open.
They also addressed one of the most pressing issues – the language of instruction for the Romanian minority in Ukraine.
– The Law of Ukraine “On Education” does not in any way restrict the right of national minorities to study their language and use it .
There are now 69 schools in Ukraine where students learn Romanian
– mainly in the Transcarpathian and Chernivtsi regions. A total of 16,000 students study in Romanian, – said Vadym Karandy, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine.
And about the Ukrainian movement on the way of European integration, talked with independent experts – members of the Ukrainian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.
– We have heard a lot of interesting and important about bilateral relations between Ukraine and Romania and about the situation in Ukraine. Five years ago, only such a meeting could be dreamed of, “says Marian Voikou, TVR journalist. – By 2013-2014, very few Romanians knew anything about Ukraine at all. Unfortunately, it was this horrible conflict that brought Ukraine to the front pages of Romanian newspapers. Now we need to ensure that Ukraine appears in the news and on other, more pleasant reasons.
With whom Ukraine fights
And from the East. We are at Svitlodarsky arc in the location of the 30th individual mechanized brigade of the Land Forces of Ukraine.
“Do you have a war here or what? With Russia or with whom? “- the issues most often heard from journalists. The numbers speak for themselves.
– Since January, the positions of the brigade were 982 shells. Since 2014, when the brigade began to serve, our combat losses are 180 soldiers ,
– says Mikhail Bliznyuk, the acting commander of the brigade. – Many people forget that there is a war, but it’s a war. Who do we fight with? All senior positions on the other side occupy only Russian n officers.
On the ruins of a psychiatric hospital in Semenivka, the commanding officer of the unit with a calling child remembers how he freed these places from militants in 2014. And his answer to the main question is simple:
– Adequate people should understand that in two regions of Ukraine there are more weapons than in Ukraine and very heavy weapons.
This was not a civil war from the very first day. All the cities seized by the separatists were engaged under the banner of the Russian Federation. And only later flags of so-called republics appeared .
To dispel all doubts, journalists agree to take “on the front”. Heavy body armor, strict team “do not speak, execute orders, move quickly” – the jokes are over. The officers go ahead and warn: no one step away from the road, but in the quiet steppe of unbreakable shells, nobody knows. The road is shelled with fragments of ammunition, funnels from the day before yesterday, and the soldier was seriously burned here yesterday. We go to the forest band and hear an explosion. Officers command to sit down, review and decide what to do … In the eyes of fear, not for themselves – for us …
But the bombings are no longer repeated and we quickly reach the dugouts where our troops carry the service.
– We watch the opponent round the clock, we do not attack, carry out the Minsk agreements, – the military explained.
To the enemy’s position – some 280 meters.
– It will order – tomorrow they will not be here! – the battalion commander confidently says.
Journalists are amazed. And no longer they ask if we have a war.
– This is not what you see in fairy tales or on YouTube video. When you see this with your own eyes, you feel the danger, you know that everything is really, – shares his impressions Victor Kozheim, journalist Hotnews. – In Romania and in Europe, in general, they think that Ukraine is calm, the war is over. But we saw with our own eyes: the war continues, people are killed and injured every day. And this should not be forgotten.
We must not forget that Russia is an aggressor, it is holding many countries afraid, and Romania is also among them .
This is the fourth visit of journalists from the neighboring countries that organized the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in cooperation with the Ukrainian Prism and the Public Council under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine with the support of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the project “Public Synergy ” Previously, groups of mediators from Hungary, Poland and Belarus have already visited Ukraine. Previously, groups of mediators from Hungary, Poland and Belarus have already visited Ukraine.
– Visiting journalists from neighboring countries is one of the effective tools to tell people the truth abroad, to overcome stereotypes and mountains of misinformation. One thing to write about Ukraine is based on news feeds about virtual ministers. It’s completely different – ask them and get the answer without bills and corrections. Also, feel on their own skin and see with their own eyes what and what is happening in the East of Ukraine is worth thousands of dry messages, read from someone’s words. Only true, only on the first hand – summed up the project by Gennady Maksak, chairman of the Council of Foreign Policy “Ukrainian Prism”.
“Individual opinions, expressed in materials or voiced at the event, are the personal views of the authors / speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union and the International Renaissance Foundation.”