Friday, October 24, 2014

Ukrainian forces in good shape in Mariupol, says Shuster run an interview with one of Ukraine's most well known television journalists - political show host Savik Shuster.

Shuster, who has had a most interesting and colourful career in many countries, had spent a day in Mariupol.

Here is a portion of his observations from the piece which was entitled:

"Shuster: It will be a surprise for Putin that the 'Russian World' in south-eastern Ukraine is braced to fight against Russia"

- What are your impressions from your visit to the Anti Terrorist Operation area?

- I came back last night, and have not yet fully comprehended and thought over everything, but was absolutely impressed by three things.

Firstly, I saw the real Armed Forces of Ukraine - a powerful, organized and cohesive force. It is  constantly being alleged that the Ukrainian army is weak and demoralized. In Mariupol I did not experience this, rather I felt the opposite: Ukrainian forces are of an incomparably higher standar than those I have seen in other military conflicts in the former Soviet Union - and I was in Chechnya, Ossetia, Abkhazia and Karabakh. In Mariupol the armed powers of Ukraine are really organized. That's impressive.

- What else impressed you at the front line?

- Morale. The guys are driven by patriotism. In Kyiv they do not understand this and  they do not understand the circumstances in which Ukrainian ATO fighters now live and fight.

But most importantly, I felt Putin now has great problem. The Russian president does not understand that the "Russian World", which he expects to rise up in Mariupol, will fight against Putin. In the city most people speak in Russian, but they have a maximum pro-Ukrainian outlook. I think for Putin this will be a great surprise, because he is still convinced that the south-east of Ukraine is for Russia. Its nothing of the kind. The Ukrainian Russophone world is against Putin, against his fighters and against Russian aggression.

Although Shuster does not provide an answer how this war against Ukraine will end, he does conclude: "Intuition tells me Russia will never conquer Mariupol."

p.s . Check out this short RFE/RL video [in English] on the kitsch palaces of two Yanukovych-era 'Naftohaz Ukrainy' executives who cannot explain the origin of their families' spectacular wealth but are now running for parliament - and immunity from prosecution.

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