The Russian authorities have mounted a gruesome exhibition in Moscow to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of war in Ukraine, complete with reconstructions of war-damaged sites which they say prove Kiev’s guilt in the conflict.
Titled “Concrete Proof – 365 Days in Donbas”, the show includes mock-ups of hospitals with severely wounded patients, bombed-out buildings and a minibus riddled with bullet holes.
Much of the material, including a sign marking the city limits of Debaltseve, which Russian-backed forces wrested from Ukrainian government control in February after weeks of deadly artillery battles, was taken directly from the battlefields of eastern Ukraine.
Visitors to the Moscow exhibition seemed convinced the blame for the conflict lay exclusively with Kiev.
“It makes my skin crawl,” one former soldier told FRANCE 24. “It’s terrible what’s happening over there. To see our neighbours do that to their own people, it’s horrendous.”
Moscow has been widely accused of offering material support to the separatists who have been waging a year-long war in Donbas, the name for the Russian-speaking industrial east of Ukraine.
So far more than 6,000 people have been killed, according to the United Nations, in a conflict that was sparked by the pro-EU Euromaidan revolution that ousted the country's Russian-backed president, Viktor Yanukovich.
Despite the West's repeated allegations, no definitive measure of the scale of alleged Russian involvement in the fighting has been proved.
Moscow has said any Russians involved must be volunteers who have gone to Ukraine without state backing.
However, independent military experts say there is considerable evidence of highly sophisticated weaponry being used on the rebel side and other signs of professional involvement in what bills itself as a homegrown insurgency.
Date created : 2015-04-19