In the latest in a series of dispatches from Ukraine and Crimea, Vice News reporter Simon Ostrovsky traveled to the Kherson region of the Ukrainian mainland to investigate Russian and Ukrainian checkpoints leading into Crimea.
At the Ukrainian checkpoint, Ostrovsky encountered a warm welcome from the Ukrainian troops and the regiment’s captain, Major Yaroslav Kalashnikov. The captain, an ethnic Russian, refuted Putin’s argument about intervening to protect ethnic Russian.
“Our enemy doesn’t have an ethnicity. He’s our enemy,” the captain told Ostrovsky. “If you see a killer or a thief, you don’t say, ‘Oh, you’re Russian so I’ll let you off.’ If you’re an invader, we will fend off your invasion. It doesn’t matter who it is. “
Although Ostrovsky was barred from filming the forward most positions of the checkpoint, he was given access and was even allowed to enter a Soviet built armoured personnel carrier.
At the Russian checkpoint, things became significantly riskier. The checkpoint was manned by a reestablished Berkut security force, which was at the center of the violence against protesters in Kiev.
Already, two groups of journalists attempting to cross these Russian checkpoints have already gone missing only to show up detained by the security services in Sevastopol.
The Berkut asked for Ostrovsky’s ID and then roughed up his cameraman:
Ostrovsky then ran away, noting that they were “very lucky” to emerge unscathed.
Here’s the full report:
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