Staying loyal to oath: documentary reveals stories of Ukrainian servicemen during Crimea annexation

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On 14 March “Crimea, As It Was” documentary film was premiered in Kyiv.

This full-length film is produced by Babylon’13 film-making team. The movie narrates the stories of Ukrainian servicemen who were serving in Crimea during its annexation by Russia in spring 2014 and remained loyal to the oath. “Crimea, As It Was” contains interviews with the servicemen filmed on mainland Ukraine (Odesa and Mykolayiv training grounds, and in eastern Ukraine) over 2015.
“Many servicemen told their stories, spoke out for the first time, they opened their souls and would probably never do it again,” explains Valentyna Okhlopkova, volunteer who was helping the servicemen in Crimea in 2014 and was assisting the film crew. Many of the film characters are her friends and made the decision to be part of the film knowing that Valentyna was involved.
Neither of the servicemen in the film appears to have hesitated as to whether remain loyal to the oath or not. However it was a life-changing experience for them, notes Serhiy Malyarchuk, executive producer of the film. “Many of them left their friendships behind, in some cases their families,” producer says.
Footage from actual events of the spring 2014 in Crimea also appears in the film, including seizure of the military bases by Russian troops and thugs as well as pro-Russian rallies.
“With this film we hope to start a new wave of interest to the Crimea theme,” says film director Kostyantyn Klyatskin.
Film crew (L-R): sound designer Pavlo Lypa, producer Oleksandra Bratyshenko, film director Kostyantyn Klyatskin, executive producer Serhiy Malyarchuk

Film crew (L-R): sound designer Pavlo Lypa, producer Oleksandra Bratyshenko, film director Kostyantyn Klyatskin, executive producer Serhiy Malyarchuk

After the film screening discussion was held that involved the film crew and the audience. It was moderated by Ukrainian journalist and TV host Vitaliy Portnikov. Portnikov voiced the opinion that he would prefer seeing one of the stories of servicemen presented in the film explored and presented in a more thorough way as a separate movie.
The film will tour across Ukraine and will be on show in 13 cities. Follow the film page to learn more.
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