Sievierodonetsk, a week after the fall

Sievierodonetsk, a week after the fall

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A week ago, Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, in the Donbass, was completely taken over by Russian and pro-Russian forces. The Azot factory resisted for a long time but the fighters left or surrendered long before major damage. The city is now almost emptied of its inhabitants. RFI went there accompanied by pro-Russian Chechen forces.

From our special correspondent in Sievierodonetsk,

In the offices of the Azot factory, reams of paper, an abandoned filing cabinet on a window, a table and chairs overturned. The fragments of a hasty end. In the old workshops, a smell that takes the nostrils, a mixture of persistent smoke, ash and oil spilled on the ground. The silhouette of a calcined tank rises up in an embrasure. Windows in buildings are often blown or broken. There are still anti-tank mines on the ground mixed with twisted beams, scattered on a lawn eaten by black craters or on the bitumen of the paths which is beginning to be nibbled by thistles.

The Azot chemical plant did not know the fate of Azvostal in Mariupol, totally destroyed: there are still standing buildings, padlocked doors, intact tanks, huge pipes still wrapped and protected. © RFI/Anissa El Jabri

In the offices of the Azot factory, the fragments of a hasty end: reams of paper, a filing cabinet left on a window, a table and chairs overturned...
In the offices of the Azot factory, the fragments of a hasty end: reams of paper, a filing cabinet left on a window, a table and chairs overturned… © RFI/Anissa el-Jabri

Damaged by the fighting, the Azot chemical plant did not however know the fate of Azvostal, flattened and totally destroyed in Mariupol: there are still standing buildings, padlocked doors, intact tanks, huge pipes still wrapped and protected. And, absurd in this deserted industrial site, road signs. They warn of heavy truck traffic or of a priority to be respected.

A red flag and a Russian flag now frame the name of the city

outside the factory premises, Sievierodonetsk is almost completely emptied of its inhabitants. A week since the city changed hands: at the entrance, the large capital letters “Sievierodonetsk” are still painted in blue and yellow, but they are framed by a red flag and a Russian flag.

This resident, whom we meet on a bicycle in the streets where we hear mainly the cry of crows, has not responded to repeated calls from the Ukrainian governor of the region, Serhiy Haidai, to evacuate as soon as possible. From now on, his city will join the capital of the self-proclaimed republic already ruled by pro-Russian separatist forces. ” Yes, I regret that I stayed, he concedes. I know a few people who died. They came under artillery fire. »

A regret certainly for this former worker of the Azot factory, but an assumed choice to wait for the arrival of Russian and pro-Russian forces. “ I stayed at home and it was my choice. From the starthe explains. Basically, I never wanted to change my mind and then, after all, we survived. My mother lived with me, I was more afraid for her. Now everything is fine, it’s fine. I think everything will be fine. I have acquaintances who left for Ukraine but I do not communicate with them. I don’t keep in touch. »

Awaits him new leaders, reconstruction, a job in this deserted city where people live today either in cellars or in tents.

Apti Alaoudinov, commander of the Chechen special forces: “We must liberate other territories from the yoke of Nazism”

Fighting continues around Lyssytchansk, the last major city yet to be conquered by Russians and pro-Russians in the Luhansk region, one of the two provinces of the Donbass industrial basin, which Moscow intends to fully control. At the forefront of the fighting in particular, the commander of the Chechen special forces Apti Alaoudinov, very close to the leader of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, from whom our special correspondent was able to hear the word:

If it was up to me, I wouldn’t stop where we are and go furtherhe assures. I believe that we must liberate other territories from the yoke of Nazism, from the values ​​of so-called democracy, which are contrary to God, and which do not come from God. I am thinking of all the states which already openly oppose the Russian Federation. After Ukraine, we should visit Poland to get to know its place. And even I am thinking of other states in the European Union, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, so that these states are also made to be normal states. We shouldn’t stop, because if we stop, what is happening today will have to be repeated in 20 or 30 years. »

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