Ukraine: Pro-Russian separatists want to "purge" Slavyansk of "Gypsies"
Another attack on local Romani people took place on 22 April in the Ukrainian town of Slavyansk, which is currently being ruled by pro-Russian separatists. German news server Die Welt quotes one of the separatists as saying the pro-Russian forces want to purge the town of "gypsies".
News server Romea.cz was the first media outlet in the Czech Republic to report on the attacks. Die Welt has now reported directly from the scene, where the newspaper has mapped the attacks against local Roma in detail.
"Pavel is picking up shards of glass from in front of his house. The windows are broken. There are bullet holes in the heavy metal doors. He and his wife Natalia will not be spending another night here. Most of their eight children, 10 grandchildren and the other relatives who lived in neighboring houses in this Romani community have already left," Die Welt reports.
Local Romani residents have now confirmed information published last week by Romea.cz. About 10 men came to their homes after dark to carry out the attack.
Some of the assailants were wearing camouflage uniforms, others wore civilian clothing and masks. The armed men fired rifles into the air, aimed at the doors and windows, and forced open the shutters.
A resident named Pavel told Die Welt that the armed men yelled: "Give us your cash, all your gold and your drugs!" They then shot a dog so no one would doubt they meant business.
"They broke into our yard through the main gate and started shooting at the window. They were wearing masks and there were about 15 of them," Natasha Cherepovska described the attack to the New York Times. "They wanted money and gold, but we don't have any."
"Inside Pavel and Natalia's home, chaos reigns. A chest of drawers in the bedroom lies upturned on the bed. Did the men in camouflage search every cabinet in their effort to find money?" Die Welt reports.
The living room was strewn with bedclothes and porcelain, items Natalia sells at a market stall. The armed men took several boxes of goods with them.
"Another six homes were shot up and looted," Die Welt quotes Pavel as saying, confirming the previously-reported information. "We are really afraid," his daughter told the paper. "They threatened us and called us animals and monkeys."
Most of the Romani residents of the neighboring houses left after the attack. Roman Cherepovski, who is 29 years old, is remaining behind together with his mother, who is blind.
On 22 April yet another attack took place. The men in the camouflage uniforms returned.
The assailants broke down doors, fired their weapons at the windows, and demanded money. Cherepovski hid from the attackers, watching as they attempted to shoot through the door of a neighboring house.
Shells from a Makarov pistol were left near the fence, the kind of pistol used by the Ukrainian Police and now looted by pro-Russian separatists from their armories. Many pro-Russian separatists are described as wearing camouflage and carrying either machine guns or Makarov pistols.
"Some of the men in camouflage seem very professional, while others seem to have not the slightest idea how the weapon they are carrying even works. That scares the residents of this town even more," Die Welt reports.
One pro-Russian separatist has a clear opinion of Roma and believes the attacks on their homes in Slavyansk are in order. "Local residents are coming to us and complaining about Gypsies," Ruslan Mikeda, a fully-bearded man guarding the occupied headquarters of the secret service, told Die Welt.
"Gypsies are criminals trafficking in drugs. Our men are serious - we want to purge the town of Gypsies," said Mikeda, who told Die Welt that he spent several days on the Maidan during the winter and even joined the neo-Nazi Right Sector before realizing that the entire uprising was "in the hands of the Jews" and switching sides to join the pro-Russian separatists. His Facebook profile is full of calls to anarchy and war interlaced with anti-Semitism.
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