Old weapons and ammunition collected in a yard of a workshop in Viktor Mikhalev's house in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mikhalev is transforming weapons and ammunition into flowers of war. (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)
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From the AP . . .

A blacksmith in the Russian-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk is practically beating swords into ploughshares, and turning one man’s trash into treasures. Viktor Mikhalev takes weapons and ammunition and produces what he calls the flowers of war.

Mikhalev, who trained as a welder, lives and works in a house whose fence and door are decorated with forged flowers and grapes. In his workshop are piles of half-burnt machine guns and shells from the war’s front line. Friends and acquaintances bring them as raw material for his art.

Donetsk, the center of Ukraine’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, has been engulfed by fighting ever since the Moscow-backed separatist rebellion erupted in April 2014, weeks after Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

 (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)

The Kremlin has made capturing the entire region a key goal of its invasion that began a year ago, and it illegally annexed Donetsk along with three other regions in eastern and southern Ukraine in September, declaring them part of Russia.

Fierce fighting has focused on the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, and the city of Donetsk itself also has been frequently hit by shelling.

(AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)

The smell of iron and paint permeates Mikhalev’s workshop, also decorated from floor to ceiling with dozens of religious icons. He makes the art as a keepsake, a souvenir of the war in eastern Ukraine.

“Real flowers will not last long, and my roses will become a reminder for a long memory,” the blacksmith says.

Viktor Mikhalev shows a rose transformed from weapons and ammunition into flowers of war in a workshop in his house in Donetsk. (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)

He began the project when a friend brought him broken machine guns. A month later, he exhibited his war art in a Donetsk museum. Since then, he’s constantly been making what he calls “flowers of war.” In addition, he constructs stands for writing pens from parts of a grenade launcher and a cartridge case.

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  1. I can only imagine how many fully functional weapons this dude could build by parting these things out. 😳🥺😢

    • Moms Deamand Action would collectively have a heart attack at the thought of so many ‘ghost guns’.

      • Imagine a group like that having the foresight to know what is happening in Ukraine can happen anywhere. lol. Hilarious.

    • It would be extremely interesting to know what the artists political leanings are.
      He lives in the contested Donbas area.
      They had a referendum and supposedly the great majority of the people living in the area voted to be annexed by Russia.

      Is the artist for joining Donbass to Russia?
      Are the majority of people in Donbas really in favor of joining Russia?
      If that is the case, the ideal end of this war would be a negotiated settlement where Russia keeps Donbas.

    • “worth exactly what someone will pay for them.”

      You inadvertently raise an excellent point.

      There is gonna be a *lot* of high-quality steel salvaged when that mess is over. Rolled homogeneous armor plate brings a nice price on the scrap steel market for whoever salvages it…

  2. Interesting spin by the AP.
    This blacksmith almost certainly speaks Russian as his first and maybe only language. He is probably ethnic Russian. Unlike most people in the US, he is probably aware of the history of his homeland. He understands that Crimea as well as the Donbass and even Odessa were historically Russian until Stalin decided to incorporate these regions into the Ukrainian Socialist Republic. This blacksmith along with his Russian speaking, ethnic Russian neighbors have been subjected to relentless artillery bombardments since 2014 in a relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing. He has not forgotten that Hillary Clinton, Samantha Powers and Victoria Nuland orchestrated the 2014 coup to usurp authority from a Constitutionally elected president back in 2014.

    Why does TTAG continue to publish Biden Bullshit?

    • I thought you had issues with corrupt local .gov and a pot farmer. Turns out you’re a Russia bot.

      • You saying they are wrong? Ukraine is far from “innocent” in all this. Fascist at heart, same as those they are fighting. Commies and Fascists – same shit, different toilet. The joke is in the utopia of it all. The only reason Ukraine gets our support is because it’s good for business and the US and like societies can spin Putins claim to stomping neo-nazi’s as “totally falsified”. It is, mostly, but not entirely. Lastly, I’m not saying Russia is innocent either, clearly. Neither one of them want to stop this war. We need to stay the fuck out of it. Ukraine is the new Afghanistan.

        • I’m on record as saying there are no good guys in this war. As far as I can tell there are only fascists on both sides.

          But all putin had to do was not roll onto ukraine. It would have been so simple.

        • People tend to skip the nuance. If we had stayed out of it, they wouldn’t be having this war. We enabled it, and continue to do so. They would have come to a peace agreement in the beginning without our “help.” We aren’t “protecting democracy.” That’s the propaganda so the sheep will wave their flags. They’ve literally said what we’re doing. We’re using Ukrainians to weaken Russia so Americans don’t have to do it. Yes, they actually said that. The unstated part is that we want to continue controlling Ukraine, along with her resources. Then there’s the money. Lots and lots of $$$. Long story short, it’s a mess. I feel sorry for the people paying the price so others can profit and play their power games.

      • I guess that you are eager to refight the Crimean war with nuclear weapons? Do you even know what the Crimean War was and when? The United States was smart enough to remain neutral rather than entering into foreign entanglements.

  3. The old fart has that much energy, then he needs to get his butt West out of russian occupied territory and carry/fire a rifle.

  4. I always like the notion of legality when it comes to the international level.

    Like it matters? Who are the authorities to make the declaration? Since when has the planet been under one ruling body? And if it is and we are why haven’t the globe police arrested anyone?

    It’s all so stupid. May as well claim it was illegal for that asteroid to wipe out the dinos as per the galaxy police and the ruling space order.

    Might makes right. Either militarily or economically. Pretending that’s righteous or good is like those old monarchs claiming god put their family in charge.

    A collection of competing self interests trapped on a big rock is all we are. No more, no less.

    • >>>”May as well claim it was illegal for that asteroid to wipe out the dinos as per the galaxy police and the ruling space order.”

      It was not illegal as the asteroid WAS from the ruling space order. They are having a Vogon constructor fleet eventually demolish Earth to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Haven’t you read the plans? They are on display in the cellar in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.

      • BS the Slugites from the planet Slug are going to wipe out the Vogans.
        Then they’re going to desalianate earths oceans and take over the planet.
        I must get my UniverseEndingPerpetualFusionNuetrinoBlomb finished before it’s to late to vaporize the universe.

      • “Haven’t you read the plans?”

        Haven’t risked it, there might be some Vogon poetry in there… 🙁

      • I have a huge appreciation for individuals who’ve read some of the works by Douglas Adams. They’re the ones who instantly understand that the appropriate answer to any question asked is…


    • Might doesn’t make right. Might makes reality, which has no morality to it. Reality simply is, the morals are a system we impose on the system with regard to human interaction with that system.

      If I beat the shit out of some old woman and take her purse the fact that I prevailed in doing so doesn’t make my actions right. But the fact that those actions were wrong doesn’t undo them and, quite clearly, didn’t prevent them.

      As per usual, disregarding “established norms” is a powerful tool. But thinking that everyone would play by the “rules” was a fool’s errand, so… who’s really at fault?

  5. Better than all these Youtube videos of someone “restoring” some rusted out firearm of some type. How can someone obtain so many rusted up corroded firearms to make these corny videos? It makes me wonder if they go to pawn shops, buy some pile of crap, accelerate decay and rusting by exposing it to the various methods of rusting metals then shoot a video of them “restoring” them.

  6. Flours of war, eastern Europe, wouldn’t flours of war have been made out of sawdust?
    That UCrane is one hell of a baker.

  7. Illegally annexed Donestk?
    Kinda like the Native Americans losing the Great Plains no doubt.

    • “Kinda like the Native Americans losing the Great Plains no doubt.”

      The Native Americans stole it from the Neanderthals…

    • Except these guys voted to be annexed. The AP must hate democracy. Or maybe election fraud exists now. Or maybe Ukrainian elections are corrupt and aren’t to be trusted. Or maybe there was election interference in Ukraine which isn’t cool unless the USA is doing it. Which is it?

      • Actually, it can be none of the above.

        There’s very little point in trying to get fine-pointed detail on this until after the fact, and then you’ll need to remember that the victor gets to write the history in many regards.

        Where there is fine pointed data available on much of this, it’s classified to Hell and back.

  8. If there is a nuclear detonation in the Ukraine? Or anywhere else in the world. I hope all of you have been planning ahead. Because once that happens, you will not be able to find any ammunition, at any price in the United States.

    In 1942 the mud slowed the Germans down. Just as it is slowing the Russians down now. But when the spring and summer comes the ground will be nice and firm. And it will support all of those rolling Russian tanks, and the rest of their heavy equipment.

    I don’t know if this is true or not. But I was told that the chemicals used to make gunpowder, most of that comes from outside of the United states. Primarily from Europe.

      • Both sides have tanks at this point, they’re used in limited numbers because his has been an odd year. Normally there are two heavy equipment seasons, when the ground is dry and when it’s frozen.

        It didn’t really freeze this year, hence the WWI style meat grinder that’s been going on since November.

        Unless the Russians have picked up a lot of logi capacity in the last 6 months, most vehicle warfare to speak of will be on the Uke side. I’d expect this to be one heck of a fight.

        This is why the Ukes targeted trucks rather than tanks with the Javalins we gave them. One rocket destroys a tank, or it takes out the logi truck carrying the stuff for multiple tanks. It worked pretty well, which ain’t shocking. The opening of this war featured a Russian tank column that went right at Kiev. It stopped about 40km inside Ukraine because it ran out of fuel. A few days later the troops abandoned the tanks and walked back to the eastern tip of Belarus because they were running out of food.

        Better than the tank column the launched at Georgia, which mostly didn’t make it to the border, but still not an effective fighting force.

        Going forward the Ukes will be undermanned in comparision but with better equipment, logi and a much higher skill level. The Russians will try to compensate for a lack of equipment, training and logi the same way they always do, with a huge number of men.

        Given the situation, at this point, I’d say even odds to both sides. Which is probably one of the worst situations imaginable for the rest of the world because the farther this goes the more the sunk cost and the closer we get to someone doing something really fuckin’ stupid.

      • It was a Democrat President Jimmy Carter who brought back draft registration. It was the draft Dodger president Bill Clinton when asked said that draft registration would continue. Both Democrats Obama and Biden have kept registering for the draft on the books.
        And any 18 year old male who refuses to register, faces a stiff Federal Prison sentence.

        Now the question is how badly do you think the Democrat Party wants to beat the Russian military???

        “Russia Announces Military Expansion to 1.5 Million Troops”


        • The US actually goes to war in Ukraine at this point and we will rapidly push the Russians into a corner where they nuke us.

          They’ve been clear about their red lines. It would be very, very, very hard to avoid crossing them in a conventional war against the current Russian army in Ukraine because we can collapse their capacity to fight pretty damn fast if we care enough to do it. That’s why we’re using a proxy, the same way the USSR did in Vietnam.

          We simply don’t have the kind of finesse in our leadership to thread the needles that US v Russia straight up entails. We punch way too hard and are run by morons at this point.

  9. Using a SMAW electrode as a brazing rod with an acetylene torch while standing over it and not even deflecting anything with an actual hood…

    I wouldn’t ever want to see the inside of this guy’s lungs.

  10. sorry
    but you lost me at “ap”
    that was all i needed to know
    that its an anti russia article
    am i right

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