Ukraine, Steinmann: ‘I sent to the side of the enemy’ – World

Many Russians experience an excruciating internal conflict: on the one hand there is the difficulty of finding themselves fighting a war that the Russians themselves and not only the population of Donbass perceive as a civil war, fought against a brotherly people; on the other hand, there is a strong motivation to support the Moscow government and its invasion. The war reporter Luca Steinmann, who worked for five months “on the side of the enemy” between Donetsk and Lugansk, with the declared aim of making information “independent without making propaganda for anybody, recounts his experience on what is happening in Ukraine. of the parties involved “.
Steinmann, born in 1989, Italian-Swiss, war correspondent and geopolitical analyst, is sent to Russia and Ukraine for the Special TG of La7: in the past he has published reports from Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Afghanistan, Jordan, Nagorno Karabakh and China.
A fresh winner of the Premiolino for reports from the Russian front, Steinmann had traveled to Donbass a few days before the outbreak of the war, and was among the few Western journalists in the area, which has fueled the suspicions of the Russian security services of being a ” propagandist who gave information to the West or even a spy “.
“For weeks – he explains to ANSA – I tried to convince many to understand that I was only there to tell the facts: not everyone understood it, but I also found an extraordinary humanity on the part of those who appreciate the work of those who try to be objective. The most difficult moment, personally and professionally, I experienced when I was expelled from the Donetsk territory due to the title of one of my publications: I had to leave in 24 hours. Then I managed to return, but the incident created problems for me with the local soldiers, making the convincing work done in the previous period even more difficult “.
Steinmann was among the first journalists to enter the Russian-besieged city of Mariupol and, later, into the Azovstal steel mill during the fighting between Chechen troops and the Azov regiment. “It has often happened to me – he says – to think that this was hell on earth. It is difficult to think that people can live without water and light, for whole weeks, without the possibility of washing themselves, with the corpses of their loved ones rotting in the Another thing that struck me in Mariupol was the search for relatives, as the Russians conquered the neighborhoods of the city: many entrusted us with the telephone numbers of fathers or children asking us to call when we returned to Donetsk, to understand if their relatives were alive “.
Steinmann, who constantly went to the front during the first 100 days of the war, then dwells on the contradictions he observed. “He surprised me a lot – he says – on the one hand the difficulty of the Russians to accept the war against a brotherly people, balanced on the other by a strong patriotism.
I have heard more people say, on several occasions, ‘I am against the war, but at the moment my country is involved and I feel I have to take my country’s side’. “
Speaking of his professional experience, Steinmann remembers that he often realized “that he had risked his life” only after arriving at the hotel. To those who would like to do his job he suggests to be very careful. “When your voice, in crisis areas, is amplified – he underlines – this can have consequences on others: therefore, regardless of how you think politically, you have to try to free yourself from esoteric or romantic approaches in the realization of the work. I think doing war journalism teaches you these things. ”