Sometimes what we journalists write doesn’t depend on our ideas but on the actions of a uniformed intelligence officer. Like the one who was standing at a checkpoint in eastern Ukraine on a cold day in January. He shook his head and said, “You can’t pass this way!”
We were standing at a checkpoint called “Oktyabr.” An icy wind was chasing across the flat plain, the sun reflecting in a frozen lake. Around about us were the remains of what once could have been a farm. Bullet hole-ridden walls, roofs torn to shreds, fields rutted by mortars. They had set up provisional barracks, from which emerged uniformed men, who wearily searched through our car for the fourth time.
We were here because we wanted to report on the work being done in Ukraine by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and on the separatist territory. We all had the necessary authorizations to do so with us.