Kyiv, November 26, 2015. Situation in the media space in Donetsk region is currently much complicated. Almost the entire media space is filled with propagandist TV channels of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and Kremlin’s TV channels, said Lieutenant-Colonel Oleksandr Gvozdkov, Head of the civil-military cooperation group (CIMIC) in Donetsk region, B sector. “They plant hatred to the Ukrainian state and the Ukrainian army into people’s minds, create image of the monster and of the destructive serpent,” he noted. Despite the complicated work under such circumstances the CIMIC group debunks these myths with their actions. It brings its fruit – residents change their moods towards Ukrainian army for more positive ones. “Local residents of towns in B sector have got used to the fact that the army keeps its promises. By making concrete actions and reporting on them we are putting a small wedge of doubt into the Kremlin’s lies planted into the heads of local residents,” explained Lieutenant-Colonel Gvozdkov.
CIMIC’s area of responsibility in Donetsk region, B sector comprises Krasnoarmiysky, Yasynuvatsky, Velykonovosilkivsky and Maryinsky districts of Donetsk region. According to Lt. Col. Gvozdkov main efforts are concentrated on the towns located closer to the frontline including Novhorodske, Verkhnyotoretske, Avdiivka, Opytne, Pisky, Maryinka, Krasnohorivka etc.
Lt. Col. Gvozdkov said that the group’s tasks include provision of humanitarian aid to locals, repair works on infrastructure, gas and power supply, water pipes, schools and other parts of the infrastructure damaged by combat actions.
“We have restored 110 KW electric power supply lines in Krasnohorivka. It helped to stabilize the voltage in the town’s power supply system. It became possible to re-launch the Krasnohorivka factory of fireproof materials by one third of its capacities. It is going to provide working places so that people will start getting wages. It will bring some tension down on the spot,” made an example the CIMIC group head. They have also constructed water pipe lines in Maryinka and Krasnohorivka that are already functioning to their full capacities supplying water to the residents.
Head of CIMIC in Donetsk region also said that the group in cooperation with mobile operators has restored mobile communications in the above towns. “As Kremlin’s propaganda planted the information in people’s heads that the Ukrainian army purposefully jams all signals we purposefully got to debunk this myth. The practice demonstrated that our efforts were not in vain. We have restored mobile coverage in the region in question almost in full,” he said.
Moreover, we are repairing schools, for instance, heating system in the school no.5 is already functioning properly. Troops who were staying in school in Krasnohorivka vacated it. We are now preparing the school to host children, said Lieutenant-Colonel Gvozdkov. “We have also teamed up with a volunteer organization to hold first medical aid training sessions for high school students and teachers […]. Forewarned is forearmed,” he said.
Another work direction of CIMIC is the well-known “Evacuation-200” project. In framework of this project, CIMIC together with volunteers searches for remains of the killed Ukrainians servicemen on the temporary uncontrolled territories. “We have been running this project since the times of the Ilovaysk pot. There are certain difficulties. One of them is the equipment that we have been using for one and a half year. It has run out of its capacities, it is old and is gradually getting out of service,” noted Gvozdkov adding that CIMIC needs better technical equipment as the group is now functioning thanks to the volunteer movement. The equipment in question first of all includes the vehicles that the team is using.
Lt. Col. Gvozdkov said that the civil-military cooperation group started its work in Donbas in July 2014 as a pilot project and became part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces as a separate unit in December last year. According to him several groups are now working in the B sector and a pilot project is being implemented aiming to introduce CIMIC officers into military brigades. “Practical experience has demonstrated that as long as two CIMIC officers are within combat brigades tasks that include help to civilians and promote the unit’s image are better resolved. A pilot project based on the 93-rd brigade is underway. In the nearest time should that be technically possible I plan to introduce two more CIMIC officers to two more combat units for joint work in the area of responsibility of these units,” said Head of the civil-military cooperation group in B sector.