Ukraine FAQ: Donbas 2014-2022 (Russian War)

"For those who argue that some people in Eastern Ukraine wanted to be part of Russia.
Some people in New York wanted the USA to be an Islamic state. That doesn't mean we should welcome 9/11 bombings." 

I'm so tired of people online asking “WhaT aBouT UkRainiAns BomGIng DonBaSSS since 2014 CiVilINs” as a reason for Russia murdering hundreds and raping of thousands of civilians in Ukraine in 2022-2023. 

The fact that I even need to waste my time writing this shows that Russian propaganda has already won. If you've ever spread this misinformation ask yourself these questions first: (thread)

1. Have you ever been to Donbas or personally know any people anyone from there? (In person, not online) or are you just repeating Russian propaganda you saw online/tv?

Having lived in Ukraine and spending time there since 2016 I personally know a lot of Ukrainians who are from Donbas and had to leave because of the Russia-backed separatists causing an armed conflict there. These are friends that I have been to my home, people I've worked with, and every one I've asked, they said it's complicated, but all 100% agree that if Russia wasn't involved, it wouldn't had been a war.   

Yes there was a small Pro-Russian group that formed by themselves, most likely because they were watching Channel 1 Russian TV while is fueled by propaganda. (see #2) 

But if it wasn't for the "little green men" masked soldiers of the Russian Federation in unmarked green army uniforms and carrying modern Russian military coming to Donbas and giving training and weapons to the separatists, nothing would had escalated.  

2. Have the Pro-Russian people actually been to Kyiv or Lviv since 2014, or did they just fall for fear mongering Russian Propaganda online/tv?

Even before the war, I've personally met and spoken to Russian speaking Ukrainians living in the East who were afraid of going to Lviv or Kyiv because they had heard rumors that they would be beaten on the streets for speaking Russian and not served in restaurants. This was 100% Russian fear mongering propaganda and not the least bit true.

I personally spoke Russian in Lviv and Kyiv for 5 years as I didn't learn Ukrainian yet, and there was zero animosity. There is even a meme restaurant called Kryivka which jokingly puts you in a "prison" for speaking Russian in the restaurant, but (before 2022) it was all just fun and games and a joke with plastic handcuffs. I spoke Russian in this restaurants with a Ukrainian family next to me. 

The handful of fearful pro-russians watched too much Channel 1 Russian propaganda TV  and fell for Russias promises for cheap gas, and higher pensions if they joined Russia. It's the same reasons why those in Transnistria stay part of Russia (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic)

3. If someone living in Ukraine really wanted to live under Russian rule, why wouldn’t they just move to Russia? The borders were open.

For those claiming how dangerous it was to be a Russian speaking Ukrainian in Donbas from 2014, it's ridiculous as if you really feared for your life or really wanted to be part of Russia, you could had easily just moved to actual Russia. There were buses running everyday and borders were open. 

If Russia actually cared about Russian-Speaking Ukrainians, instead of spending $82 billion on destroying their homes in Eastern Ukraine, Russia could had easily built and gave away free apartments in Russia to anyone who wanted to "escape" Ukraine and move there. 

4. Why would Ukraine bomb and kill their own civilians and cities? What benefit would they have if any? Isn’t it more likely it was a false flag attack by Russia?

The first bombs in Donbas were all set off by Russian backed separatists. Ukraine's military had zero reason to destroy their own cities and harm their own civilians. 

Friends who were living in Donbas at the time said that they saw and the first bombs and they clearly all came from the Russian Separatists side. Some of them were thrown backwards towards the East to try and make it look like it was coming from the Ukrainian military on the West. It was a false flag attack by Russian based separatists to escalate the conflict. 

5. If Russia didn’t secretly send in their military and weapons to army and train Russian backed separatists in Donbas, and didn’t continue to supply them since 2014, would there be any fighting or civilian casualties in Ukraine?

The answer is it would had been a short conflict with less than 100 casualties. But since Russia secretly got involved and armed the separatists, it was dragged on from 2014-2022 and caused thousands of civilian causalities and destruction of properties.  

6. If Russia didn’t come “save’ Ukraine in 2022, would there be destroyed cities (mostly which are ironically Russian-speaking)

The answer is simple, Irpin, Bucha, Mariupol, Hostemel, Kharkiv, Kherson, and many more would had been just fine if Russia never entered Ukraine on Feb 24th, 2022. In fact, these cities were all growing and improving day by day. Irpin/Bucha had a ton of new construction and beautiful new buildings, Kharkiv was so great that I chose to buy an apartment there, friends from Mariupol said their new Mayor was making a lot of great infrastructure improvements and they got all new city buses.

None of them needed saving, and definitely no one there needed Russia to come occupy and destroy their cities. Watch this BBC documentary to see what life was like before and after the Russians came. 

7. Are you getting paid by Russia for spreading propaganda, or are you really that ignorant and stupid to have fallen for their tricks? Even if Ukraine isn’t perfect, they’re not the ones who attacked a neighboring country.

The bots and paid trolls are annoying. But what really drives me crazy is when it's a actual person living in the West who fell for this bullshit and thinks that just because Ukraine isn't perfect and so and so incident or money thing happened that they somehow deserved to be attacked and murdered. 

I don't know if these people are just that stupid or have zero empathy for those living their homes, and lives, or if they think they are special because they know there is corruption in the world or whatever "secret" fact that makes them more woke than others. 

8. What about the Minsk Agreements? Russia had no choice to attack Ukraine because the Minsk Agreements weren't upheld. 

Firstly and most importantly, there wouldn't be a need for Minsk agreements of ceasefire in Donbas if Russia wasn't in Donbas. The agreements didn't work and weren't upheld because Russia didn't pull out their troops as agreed upon. Russia continued to send in military and arms even after the agreements. 

Russia continues to lie and you cannot trust what they say or agree to. 

9. By you bringing up the “WhaT aBouT DonBaSSS since 2014 CiVilINs” "NaTo tHIS" or “What aBouT ZenLiSky being A ComeDian JeW” "AzOV NaZIII" or whatever other argument in 2022, does that cause this war to go longer and more Ukrainians dying, or less?

The truth is, before February 23rd, 2022 I took spoke out publicly against many things in the west, Nato expansion, and was happy to talk about fixing corruption and other things that Ukraine could improve on. I even went on many news outlets, including RT America to talk about how things in Ukraine were peaceful and that no one hated Russians here and that there would be no reason for Ukraine and Russia to go to War. 

But after Russia actually invaded Ukraine. None of that mattered anymore. And even by discussing it, it just fuels Russia to attack more and the war to continue longer. I'm not an idiot, I know that no country is perfect. The reason why I don't discuss those things now is because it fuels the war to go on longer. 

Right now things need to be black or white. Russia needs to leave Ukraine and stop the war, period. That's it. Nothing else needs to be discussed until then. Once there is actual peace and Russia leaves Ukraine and stops their attacks, then yes, lets sit down to a cup of coffee and talk for hours about nationalism, language, corruption, the west, whatever you want. But until then, fuck you and fuck Russia if you're making this war last longer.

With love,

Johnny FD

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  1. Johnny, I heard your latest TLAB podcast and got a heavy, almost depressed vibe while listening. I hope you are doing things you love, are with people you love, and get the help and support you need (if any). All the best to Ukraine too, and not to forget Myanmar where people are fighting a coup regime supplied by Russia.

    1. Thanks, I appreciate the support. I've been depressed since the war started. But somehow, I feel better now that I'm back in Ukraine.

  2. Good summary thank you for the article! I also heard the last TLAB episode, and I have to tell you that you are not alone in thinking this invasion is absolute madness, especially here in Europe. Some people get so easily swayed by propaganda but definitely not the majority. And yes, it is crazy how other problems totally incomparable to war crimes still get attention. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that there are a lot of like-minded people who have been donating money to Ukraine, mostly thru Ukrainian donation funds or NGOs.
    One more thing from this incoherent train of thought... that, understandably, you want to stop recording TLAB or at least pause it for some time, but I think that part of traveling like a boss is also genuine care about people you meet and live with at places where you stay. It's just my opinion, but I would like to continue listening to your thoughts and maybe about the different side of traveling - helping local people to rebuild what they lost.
    Take care and stay strong, and do not give up on all people. Not all of us are idiots:)
    Jiri (Prague)

    1. Thanks for the words Jiri, and you're definitely not one of the idiots. =)

  3. Anyone who starts an article by calling people you don't agree with "idiots" has already lost the argument. johnny you are a curious, flawed character, with few friends, who like you for who you are, who not vulnerable or, who need you to help them....

  4. A good summary but I would go even more aggressively and say that there wouldn't be any conflict in Donbass if not for Russia. Everything was planned and manufactured by Russia in order to destabilise Ukraine and later use it as a justification for a full scale invasion.

    The fact that there were pro-russian people in Donetsk and Luhanks doesn't really mean anything and their mere existence can't be considered as a cause of an armed conflict.

    Were they not told on TV that in Kyiv "Nazis came to power", where they not told that " 'ukronazis'
    will come and ban them from using russian language and USA will steal their land" etc.. why would they ever decide they need to separate/secede. Russian TV is all state-controlled so nothing of it was accidental.

    Furthermore, there was a physical presence and a direct involvement of russian 'soldiers' (armed masked man with no uniforms and insignias, yet we know they came from Russia) who captured local administration buildings, incited people to collaborate and join the local militia who they themselves founded.


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