Mykolayiv – Luhansk region, May 17, 2016. Mykolayiv journalists visited Luhansk region within the press tour of Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Over two days – May 15 and 16 – representatives of Mykolayiv and Mykolayiv region print media studied the work of executive authorities and law enforcement bodies of Luhansk regional military-civilian administration, met with civil activists and volunteers, visited villages in the “gray zone”.
Volunteer Olena Rozvadovska, who had stayed in the region since the beginning of hostilities, accompanied the group of journalists during their visit to the “gray zone” – to Lysychansk, Popasna and Zolote, reinforcing the impression by telling real stories of people and towns. The journalists saw the abandoned houses, yards, buildings destroyed as a result of shelling, hospitals, schools, kindergartens. “In Popasna we were struck by the bomb-destroyed houses that cannot be restored, traces of attacks on houses and other buildings. You do not need to be a great expert to track the direction of these attacks,” shared her experiences Natalia Belinska, editor of the regional newspaper “Kryvoozerschyna”. Yuriy Onyshchenko, Popasna Mayor, and Roman Vlasenko, Head of the district administration, spoke about activities of the government, civil and donor organizations in rebuilding the town and the district.
During a meeting in Severodonetsk, Olga Lishyk, Deputy Head of Luhansk regional military-civilian administration, described the latest statistics on internally displaced persosn, the data on restoring houses and infrastructure in the town.
The officers of civil-military cooperation CIMIC described the creation of the group and its activities. “CIMIC helps civilians, Armed Forces units, organizes cooperation with other military formations, law enforcement agencies, local authorities, the media and the private sector,” detailed Lt. Col. Andriy Rysyuk, Senior Officer of Civil-Military Cooperation Department, Operations Command “West”, and Deputy Commander of Civil-Military Cooperation Tactical Group “Luhansk”.
Mykolayiv media attended a briefing with Luhansk police leadership at Crisis Media Center “Siversky Donets”. The journalists were informed about the planned launch of patrol police in Severodonetsk, Rubizhne and Lysychansk.
The journalists also attended a press briefing of members of Luhansk volunteer movement – Iryna Boltkova (CF “Help and Action”) and Natalia Boguslavska (NGO “Women of Luhansk Region”) and the exhibition “Foreign Investments in Ukraine: Belgium”.
Brian Milakovsky, Communication Coordinator of International Charity Mercy Corps., described volunteers’ activities. The press tour participants learned about the organization, assistance to residents of the region, restoration of buildings, help to small businesses. IDPs from Rubizhne and Severodonetsk told their personal life stories.
The purpose of the press tour to Luhansk region is to facilitate reconciliation and consolidation of civil society, personal familiarization with the results of hostilities in eastern Ukraine.
The press tour was the fourth event of the joint Ukrainian-Polish project aimed at strengthening the potential of local print media in Mykolayiv region. In Ukraine, the project is implemented by Ukraine Crisis Media Center (Kyiv) through the regional coordinator in Mykolayiv. In Poland, the project is carried out by the East European Democratic Center (Warsaw).
The project is implemented within the Poland-Canada Democracy Support Program with the financial support of the Polish Development Cooperation Program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and the Government of Canada.