NV interviews Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai

13 April, 05:05 PM
The Russians destroyed the humanitarian center in Severodonetsk: eight shells hit the room. Luhansk region, April 12 (Photo:Serhiy Haidai/Facebook)

The Russians destroyed the humanitarian center in Severodonetsk: eight shells hit the room. Luhansk region, April 12 (Photo:Serhiy Haidai/Facebook)

The UK Defense Ministry has warned that the coming several weeks will see intensified fighting in eastern Ukraine. Russian forces are already relentlessly shelling civilian infrastructure and residential areas in Luhansk Oblast.

 NV discussed the situation in the region with the head of its administration, Serhiy Haidai.

NV: How heavy are Russian attacks in Luhansk oblast?

Haidai: We’re registering a greater intensity of Russian shelling of the areas of Luhansk Oblast under Ukrainian control. Every town is in danger.

It’s obvious why that’s happening. They are planning a major offensive. Huge amounts of armor have been amassed nearby in recent days. In the last couple days, they started to bring forth the equipment from the areas they held since 2014.

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However, nature itself is on our side – these lands will be soaked in week-long rains. Given our predominantly rural terrain, heavy armor simply won’t be able to move across fields for the fear of getting stuck in the mud. Moving along roads will create huge Russian convoys, which will only make our military happy – a huge column of marching orcs is target practice.

NV: Do you have information about Russian war crimes that could be classified as genocide against the Ukrainian people in Luhansk?

Haidai: For a month-and-a-half, Ukraine-controlled settlements are being systematically destroyed.

It began with the town of Shchastia, which was 80% destroyed, with many casualties.

Rubizhne is being completely destroyed right now. Almost all of Lysychansk is under fire, the same as Severodonetsk. They don’t care what they are firing at, be it school, kindergartens, or hospitals. There are still two functioning hospitals in the region – in Lysychansk and Severodonetsk – but they are the last ones. The Russians have fired at every single hospital in Luhansk oblast at this point.

They are intentionally targeting critical infrastructure: power stations, natural gas pipelines, waterworks – these are completely destroyed.

Kreminna is being shelled right now.

No settlements have escaped at least some destruction.

It’s clear they’re not planning to capture the region, they simply aim to reach its borders, at any cost. They don’t care if they erase every building, and eradicate the entire population in the process. Their only ambition is to report that they have met the objective, outlined by Vladimir Putin, a war criminal.

Putin says he’s liberating Russian-speaking people. A great many Ukrainians in Luhansk oblast speak Russian, and yet they are being decimated right now.

NV: Targeting infrastructure could be described as genocide, since people die en masse without access to medical care, food, and water.

Haidai: There are orders being given to loot, rape, and kill civilians.

A pediatric hospital was fired on, where children in intensive care were on ventilators. They would have died if we hadn’t had power generators on hand.

The Russians repeatedly broadcast their atrocities, only to deny them a short while later.

When they shot down (Malaysia Airlines Flight) MH17 in 2014, they first boasted about “the kill.” Once it became clear that they targeted a passenger liner, as opposed to a military transport plane, they immediately started claiming that Ukraine shot down the plane.

Same with Kramatorsk. There are screenshots of them cheering a strike on a concentration of Ukrainian troops. Once they realized what they’ve done, they pivoted to “we missed,” we didn’t do it,” “we don’t have Tochka-Us.” Speaking of Tochka-U: they still lob them at us – one landed in Lysychansk the other day. Seven lies, multiplied by seven. It’s a fake country of primordial evil that has to be stopped. I sincerely hope that our Armed Forces and Ukrainians, as the newly-forged nation, will stop this evil on our land.

NV: Some think that the worst is about to come, since Putin will throw everything he has at us, trying to achieve something before May 9.

Haidai: The Russians are persistently attacking and probing Popasna, Kreminna, and Rubizhne. They’re attempting to advance in company-sized units. That’s obviously just cannon fodder. They are followed by barrier troops formed from Kadyrov’s RosGuard goons and mobilized “people’s republic” regiments. They are attempting to overwhelm our defenses by throwing meat intp the grinder. Unsuccessfully. Every day, every attack has them lose troops in great numbers. Our defenders kill 30-50 orcs per day, in addition to destroyed equipment. Nevertheless, they keep coming, wave after wave, like veritable orcs.

But they are, and will remain, unsuccessful.

NV: What about the evacuation efforts? How are those who remain, survive?

Haidai: Evacuation continues, regardless of agreed corridors, since the Muscovites are unreliable on actually maintaining those – artillery fire never ceases. We’ve evacuated at least 30,000 people, but a lot of people left in their own cars, many were aided by volunteers. It’s a well-oiled machine.

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of people remain in major cities. They simply refuse to leave, out of some bizarre stubbornness. Some think they’ll get lucky; others worry about abandoning their property. We’re trying to convince them to leave, explaining that, once the horde arrives, nothing and no-one will be spared in mass killings and genocide. We’re making some progress there. But we can’t relocate people by force. After all, we’re doing an evacuation, not a deportation.

The situation with utilities in villages, towns, and cities is awful. Occasionally, our heroic maintenance crews manage to restore parts of these networks, but it never lasts, due to continuous artillery barrages.

We have enough humanitarian cargo to go around, the only issue is delivering it to active combat zones – Rubizhne, Popasna, Hirske.

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