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In Slaviansk, rebels leave behind trail of Russian expertise and Ukrainian ruin
csmonitor.com ^ | July 30, 2014 | Scott Peterson

Posted on 07/30/2014 11:41:09 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe

Before fleeing Slaviansk on July 5, rebel units here were commanded by Igor “Strelkov” Gilkin, a Russian from Moscow. Strelkov is known for his experience in Bosnia, fighting for Serb forces, and in Chechnya, and reportedly also has links to Russian security services.

In addition to the Russian leadership came rough-hewn recruits from Kazakhstan and Chechnya, and more Russians from as far afield as Moscow or Vladivostok in the east. Even today, most social media references of those who fought here are Russians, not locals.

The military professionalism of the rebels stands out in the defenses they left behind: a sophisticated network of sand-bagged bunkers, firing positions, and even a tunnel between Strelkov’s command compound and the aged brick building that once housed the town’s KGB headquarters and became a rebel headquarters. ....

“The people who supported this were marginal people, communists, [lower class] lumpen, some of the Orthodox priests,” says Denis Bigunov, a member of the Slaviansk City Council before and after the three-month uprising. Such comments about who took part are widely heard here. And videos uploaded on the Internet show some Orthodox priests clearly siding with the rebels.

Locals did die on the rebels' side. The edge of one town cemetery is lined with the freshly dug graves of 21 rebel fighters – most of them in their twenties – each grave decorated with plastic flowers, ribbons, and words that they will be “deeply missed” by their “comrades.”

(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: mh17; ukraine

1 posted on 07/30/2014 11:41:09 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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