Recently, representatives of the Don Cossacks’ Luhansk district appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to send troops to Ukraine should the situation in it deteriorate.
Unlike Zaporizhian Cossacks of days long past, contemporary Luhansk Cossacks are not considered an influential political force. Therefore, representatives of several NGOs believe that the Cossacks’ statement may be treated as a predominantly ironic occurrence. “True Cossacks are made by way of life and state of mind rather than by trousers with bright stripes and homemade order badges,” was chairperson of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Mykola Kozyriev’s response to the Don Cossacks’ statement.
The Atamans’ Council of the Consolidated Cossack Host of Luhansk Region gave no support to the appeal to Putin either. In particular, Captain-General Serhii Korotun told us that the consolidated host had been established two years ago. Initially, it included the Don Cossacks, too. “They must then have received instructions from Russia to quit our organization. However, they continue to cooperate with us on many issues. Still, they make many moves on their own, without consulting us,” Korotun clarified.
The opposition representatives were much tougher in their reactions to the appeal. For instance, Svoboda party’s Luhansk Regional Branch appealed to the regional prosecutor’s office and the local SSU demanding that they give a legal assessment of the Cossacks’ statement and bring to justice the leadership of the Cossack formations involved. “These formations, bordering on aggression and madness in their activities, are a threat to the national security of Ukraine. Statements by leaders of these marginal structures should be regarded only as an attempt to legitimize foreign aggression in any form. Therefore, they must first be suspended from their duties of ‘guarding’ administrative buildings in Luhansk, and then delegalized, while criminal charges for calling to overthrow the political system and destroy sovereignty of Ukraine should be brought against their leaders,” chairperson of Svoboda’s Luhansk Regional Branch Artem Zaika noted.
In view of this statement, the opposition planned picketing of the SSU’s Luhansk office to be held on February 14. Reportedly, the service is checking the reports of the appeal.