Hatred towards Buč grows and friendship towards Russia disappears, says Odessa doctor

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has been said that one of the targets for a ground offensive or a naval landing could be Odessa. Winning a city with a significant Russian-speaking population would be an important strategic success for Russia.

There is a major key port for both the Ukrainian economy and the local navy. At the same time, Russians perceive Odessa as a jewel of their imperial history, like the Potemkin stairs from the beach to the city or the local opera. Last but not least, Odessa would be important for Moscow to create a land corridor to the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria, which has relied on Russian support for decades.

This threat to Odessa has yet to materialize, but in recent days the city has increasingly become the target of Russian missiles, according to authorities targeting critical infrastructure. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned this weekend that Odessa was still in Putin’s sights. London therefore wants to send anti-ship missiles to Ukraine so that the city can defend itself.

Living in such an atmosphere was requested by Maxim Ačaretni, a Belarusian doctor who works in Odessa.

What is the situation in Odessa, where are you? Do people expect a massive Russian attack in the near future?

Yes, we are expecting it. The city is now quite calm, as the area is not actively fighting on the ground, but air attacks are taking place. For example, on Saturday and Sunday, they bombed, we could see fire and smoke. I was working in the hospital, but I didn’t see anyone injured, they didn’t take anyone to the hospital.

We do not know exactly where the strikes took place, but the authorities say that they were infrastructure objects. The information is secret and it is forbidden to publish photos of places that were attacked or places where the Ukrainian army and territorial defense are located. When someone puts it on social media, criminal charges await.

We definitely expect an attack, I think they will try here.

How did you move from Odessa to Belarus and what is your specialization?

I am an anesthetist and pediatric hematologist. I arrived in Odessa last June when I was discharged from a children’s hospital for political reasons, where I worked as a pediatrician.

Do you now receive patients from the war? And if so, where do they hunt them from?

Wounded soldiers are being treated in a military hospital, while other civilian hospitals are now on standby.

Over the weekend we saw shocking images from the town of Buča, which was liberated by the Ukrainian army. How do people react to this? Does the hatred of the enemy grow?

Yes, in my opinion, hatred is growing, and not only among Ukrainians. I myself am of Russian origin and I was shocked, I talked about it on my Facebook account. There is less and less supportive attitude towards Russia, and the more we see such horrors, the more hatred will grow.

There has always been a large proportion of the Russian (or Russian-speaking) population in Odessa. Does it show up during the war?

I wouldn’t say that. Russian is used as the language of communication in Odessa, and medical documentation is also needed in Russian. I have seen no repression against the language or the people who speak it. There are no Nazis or drug addicts, normal people live in Odessa.

Czech collections to help Ukraine

New collections are constantly being added. If you want to contribute to a more specific project, for example, to support animals in Ukraine, look at one of the servers specialized in organizing collections. For example, Darujme.cz, which has a panel to help Ukraine.

The main collections are:

Account of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Czech Republic

The Embassy of Ukraine in the Czech Republic has a bank account to which a financial amount can be sent for the subsequent purchase of defense equipment. With the money collected, they collect the defense equipment that the Ukrainian armed forces and militias need the most.

Account number: 304452700/0300

Hosted by People in Need.

Collection account: 0093209320/0300

A quick link to the collection, where you can easily and quickly contribute online, here.

Organized by Caritas Czech Republic.

Collection account 55660022/0800, variable symbol 104

Donor SMS to number 87,777: DMS CHARITASVET 30, DMS CHARITASVET 60 or DMS CHARITASVET 90

More information on the collection on the Caritas CR website.

Help Ukraine with the Memory of the Nation

Organizes the Post Bellum Memory of the Nation collection.

A link to the collection’s online portal, where you can easily contribute, here.

The Endowment Fund in cooperation with the ADRA organization has launched a fundraiser which aims to provide significant financial assistance to people affected by the conflict.

You can contribute to account 4004040040/5500 with variable symbol 222.

It is also possible to send a donor SMS to the number 87 777 in the form: DMS ZNESNAZE 30, DMS ZNESNAZE 60, DMS ZNESNAZE 90

More information and the possibility of contributing directly online on this site.

Public fundraising to help the Ukrainian Red Cross

The Czech Red Cross is currently providing medical supplies in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

You can contribute financially to the account: 333999/2700, variable symbol 1502.

I was rather wondering if there were people in the city who would approve of the war and support the Russian regime… Or did these people leave after 2014?

I haven’t met anyone who would support him. When bombs fall on a city every day and people have to hide in shelters, I think it’s hard for anyone to approve. Someone may be silent, but most people are clearly against it.

I visited Odessa a few years ago and locals told us how they dealt with pro-Russian separatists. Several people who wanted to take power at the time were burned. It’s still a subject, are we already talking about it?

I don’t think so, I don’t remember. Before the war, I talked about this with the residents of Odessa – it happened in the Chamber of Trade Unions. People were shocked, regretted that the pro-protesters had been killed and burned. People felt sorry for them, but now that the war had changed.

Photo: Facebook Maxima Acaretnie

Belarusian pediatrician Maxim Acaretni works in Odessa, Ukraine.

There is speculation in Belarus whether Lukashenko will send an army to help Russia. Do you think she would refuse to go to such an unpopular war in public?

Hard to say, I haven’t been to Belarus for over a year so I don’t know what the moods and situations are. God forbid that Belarus enters this war. Sometimes there are reports that some special professional units are in Donbass, but this is not very credible, I have not seen confirmation in Belarusian independent media. On the other hand, it is true that several Belarusian battalions are defending Ukraine.

There are photos of Belarusians who volunteered for the Ukraine side on social media. Do you have any contact with them? And do you have any idea of ​​the number of this group?

I know them, but I won’t tell you how many there are or where they move.

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