RT: Military-clad English-speakers caught on camera in Mariupol shelling aftermath

Published time: January 25, 2015 15:12
Edited time: January 25, 2015 16:10

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Still from YouTube video by Телеканал МТВ

Armed people in uniform speaking fluent English with no accent have been spotted in Mariupol in the aftermath of the rocket hit, fuelling allegations that foreign private military contractors are serving among Ukrainian troops.

The port city in eastern Ukraine, under Kiev’s control, saw a surge of violence on Saturday, when several rockets hit a residential area in the east of the city, reportedly killing 30 civilians. Numerous videos from the scene showed destruction in the aftermath of the attack, for which local militia and Ukrainian troops blamed each other.

But among footage shot in Mariupol, there are some videos showing armed men in military uniform, who speak English fluently.

One video uploaded on YouTube is apparently raw footage of a local news channel MSN (Mariupol News Service). One episode shows a man passing resolutely by the camera.

The man holds a carbine in his hand and is wearing a tactical vest. As the correspondent points her microphone with a request to comment, the man covers his face with the other hand and says, “Out my face, out my face!”

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The other piece is longer and apparently shows another armed man in uniform sweeping the area for unexploded munitions. The man behind the camera is apparently a guide, as he speaks in English with a clear accent. But the person he films speaks as if her were a native speaker.

“May be exploded, may be not, so blow up in situ,” he instructs at a crater left by an artillery hit.

The footage then shows a building with shattered windows signposted as the No 42 kindergarden in Mariupol. The building is in Kiyevskaya Street where the barrage hit.

The video description claims the person is an American member of the Azov voluntary battalion, but offers no proof of this. The uniforms features a round blue-and-yellow patch on shoulder, but its details are indistinguishable as is the man’s face.

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The presence of foreign volunteers among Ukrainian voluntary battalions is no secret. Earlier media reports said many of them have right-wing leanings or even Nazi sympathies.

However, so far claims of private military contractors (PMCs) like the infamous Blackwater working in Ukraine remain unproven. Such a presence would indicate a more substantial military support for the Ukrainian government by its foreign backers, since governments usually keep an eye on PMCs working in politically challenging environments.

If a Western government didn’t want a PMC to sign a contract with Ukraine, it would find a way to put leverage on it. Finding such specialists complimenting Ukrainian troops would suggest the actual support for Kiev is a tad higher than the purely non-lethal assistance officially offered to Kiev by the West.

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2 Responses to RT: Military-clad English-speakers caught on camera in Mariupol shelling aftermath

  1. diqiuren says:

    Upon a further listen of the 2nd video, the speaker said,”Maybe explode, maybe not, so blow up in situ…” which reveals non Native English speakers. The written dialogue,“May be exploded, may be not, so blow up in situ,” he instructs at a crater left by an artillery hit.” Is wrongly quoted, omitting the wrong tense used. “Maybe explode…” was said, also,”blow…” is incorrect tense for possible reasons as I stated in my first comment. I grew up in a community of European immigrant families and such incorrect use of tense was always a frustration to our English teachers as it is for me today when I meet non native speakers who were educated in High Schools and universities in Native English speaking countries who then become English teachers back home. As to whether they are mercenaries, or advisers, or just went back to live in the countries of their birth is beyond our knowledge, but all realities have been reported since the original outbreak of hostilities, including from the Maidan on.. So what?

  2. diqiuren says:

    “Out of my face, of my face, please,” definitely a native English speaker. The other two were speaking not as native speakers, but perhaps immigrants to an English speaking country who went to Elementary School in a non English speaking country and after, or during Elementary school, emigrated to an English speaking country. How do I know? I have been a Native English ESL teacher since 1995 teaching people from many countries, East and West. In South and East Asia many Eastern Europeans work as ESL teachers due to their similar skin complexion and facial features as Native English speakers, even Native Russians as they can paid lower than us Native English. As most Asians cannot tell the difference between us and them it is common the meet them on the job.

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