: A tour to help foreigners learn about the war in eastern Ukraine

17:52 Jun. 6, 2016

A tour to help foreigners learn about the war in eastern Ukraine

Destroyed Ukrainian army tanks and vehicles, along with mines and live ammunition litter the road to Artemivsk, near the village of Lohvynove, outside Debaltseve, Ukraine, Feb. 22, 2015 (AP Photo)

Open-air museum dedicated to Donbas war now offers excursions in English

Getting to know about the war in eastern Ukraine is now available in English. ATO open air museum in Dnipro city launches excursions for the foreigners. Each and every item here was once brought from the frontline.

Svitlana Kapustina working here is ready to tell about the remains of the Donetsk airport Ukrainian soldiers had been defending for nearly 250 days.

Such traditional checkpoint shows that our region of defence was the symbol for the whole country and also it was like a fore post of the whole Ukraine.

There are 400 exhibits displayed in the museum. Numerous shells are not even estimated, since the soldiers brought them in huge sacks, that is dozens of thousands.

All of these things are real. All of these parts of the weapon, all these bullets, this things, they also could be taken like souvenirs by visitors, if they want, of course. For some people it's not souvenirs, for some people it's seriously.

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Those who returned from Donbas assisted in recreating the atmosphere of the battlefield. The visitors enter the museum through the checkpoint. The exposition reflects the frontline in details, all the equipment is real, including the gun that does not shoot though. The walls are decorated with pictures the children have been sending to the soldiers since the beginning of the war. 

A lot of our soldiers believed it's not just a gift but it's also something like amulate. For example, they put them to their pockets, to their uniform, to the bed.

This emergency care unit transported the wounded soldiers from the battlefield during numerous shellings. Field surgeons say to have encountered severe danger every day while rescuing the combats.

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It's not comfortable, though… I think that they were so tired that they could sleep in anything, any situation. Yes, of course, it's not comfortable, and it's not position like military position.

Destroyed wall of Donetsk airport, demolished bus stop in a village, volunteers' car totally burnt out, numerous weapon, road signs riddled with bullets have already become a part of contemporary Ukraine's history. The museum visitors have a chance not only to have a look, but to touch as well the painful memories of Russian aggression. Ilovaysk, Luhansk, Mar'yinka, Debaltseve, and other places of cruel battling are also represented here along with the pictured chronology. In a while the administrative staff promises to provide the exhibits with special codes, so that the visitors may figure out more detailed information on every object. Those returning from the east are also on duty here and are always eager to re-tell the hellish story they have gone through. 

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OSCE observers accompanied by Russia-backed rebels walk in the destroyed building of Donetsk Airport just outside Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 2, 2015 (AP Photo)

Ivan Nachovny, defender: "People's interest to the museum is booming. Once having come here, the visitors return with their friends and relatives to show them this unique exposition. A good deal of militaries come as well. This is a kind of so called pilgrimage when they recollect the war memories. The main aim of this museum is to show the average people that evil unfolding in Donbas. The war continues despite any political factings, and we cannot stay aside awaiting the victory. It will not come unless we unite. We do not collect the reminiscences of war, but are willing to re-tell the history in total. Our workers saw the was with their own eyes."

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Nadiya Kapustina,Director of Dnipro Historical Museum: "With the help of these codes one may read the information about any object interested in. Another format we are currently elaborating is a phone excursion. By now crowds of people come just to have a look at the artifacts from the east, since these objects are silent witnesses of the Donbas war. We are willing to present an excursion not only about the military equipment and weapon, but also about people standing at checkpoints, mortars, armoured personnel carriers, Donestk airport. Seeing real people having managed to withstand the enemy is a crucial factor in bringing the victory closer."

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