Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Soldiers are being blown up by mines, dying because of alcohol and drug use, deserting, and are dismissed…
The ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are becoming thin, and it’s not the “separatists” who are to blame for this. Since the middle of August the non-combat losses of the UAF totalled 64 troops: the majority – 48 people – were poisoned by alcohol, four persons died due to a drugs overdose, four more died from “hazing”, five were involved in lethal accidents, and three died from cardiovascular diseases. Dozens of Ukrainian military personnel are blown up every month by mines – most often their own ones – and perish because of the careless handling of weapons, but this is already referred to as combat losses.
In fact, the number of non-combat losses are even greater, but the command of the UAF hides this existing problem. In most cases the cause of death of military personnel is falsified. This topic is classified.
“Mortuaries and hospitals in Lisichansk are overcrowded, blood transfusion stations are experiencing an acute shortage of donor blood. About 20 corpses and more than 50 wounded UAF troops came to medical institutions over the past month alone. The moral and psychological state and level of military discipline is still at an extremely low level. Since the beginning of August about 90 cases of misdemeanours connected to crime were recorded in the units of the UAF that are in the zone of carrying out the punitive operation,” said Andrey Marochko, the official representative of the People’s militia of the LPR.
The Ukrainian side also can’t hide the situation on the line of differentiation. The People’s Deputy Irina Gerashchenko confirmed that in August a record toll of deaths and wounds in the zone of Operation of United Forces (OUF; the former “anti-terrorist operation”) was recorded.
“We have a record number of dead and wounded at the frontline over the past few weeks,” admitted Gerashchenko.
As a reminder, the so-called “grain” truce has been in effect since August, and on August 29th it will be replaced by the “school” truce.
Two soldiers were blown up and three more received wounds of varying severity just in one day – August 26th, and only on the territory of the Lugansk region in the zone of the armed conflict.
“As a result of detonating an explosive device, one serviceman was wounded and another was traumatised while fulfilling the combat order of the commander of the battalion – checking for mines and explosive obstacles. In the area of defense of another battalion a mine was triggered, and as a result two servicemen were killed and 2 others received combat injuries due to their personal imprudence. A careful inspection is being carried out as a result of all of this,” it is said in the message of the press center of the OUF.
There is one more problem that the UAF tries to keep quiet about – desertion, which is becoming even more widespread.
A UAF private told the correspondent of “Fondsk” that from the 30 people living with him in one tent, only two are actually going to fight, the others “will surrender or flee, depending on the circumstances, if real war begins”. Nobody wants to fight and, even more so, nobody plans to die – they all joined the army because of hopelessness and a lack of money, and they don’t hide how they feel.
According to the official figures of the press services of the UAF, from July 15th to August 25th 29 people deserted from the 56th mechanised brigade alone.
“According to our intelligence, there are many more of such cases. Thus, as a result of hazing and the use of violence against ordinary and non-commissioned officer’s from the side of officers from the unit, and also the unsatisfactory living conditions and food supply, more than 40 servicemen illegally left during the specified period. Thus, 11 of them fled with their weapons and ammunition from advanced positions,” stated the official representative of the operative command of the DPR Daniil Bezsonov during a briefing on August 27th.
The UAF also continues to experience an acute personnel shortage.
“The HQ of the OUF set the task of removing all military personnel attached to the brigade from advanced positions and to leave only regular troops at the platoon strong points. The military personnel of the UAF who showed non-obedience in the past were taken to the rear, and in the future it is planned to send them for service in other UAF units and divisions in the OUF zone. Thus, the completeness of brigades will again decrease to the critical 57% mark, and only 3-4 persons will remain in some areas of the frontline in the zone of responsibility of brigades, instead of the necessary 10-12,” said the representative of the defense department.
“It is interesting – what did Poroshenko tell diplomats yesterday in Avdeevka concerning this topic? Most likely that the Ukrainian army is so strong that it can even be halved and its defense capability won’t be affected? Or did he tell the truth after all, that there are fewer and fewer fools to serve in the UAF with every passing day?” asked Bezsonov rhetorically.
After all, Petro Poroshenko likes to talk about the revival of the Ukrainian army, calling it one of the most effective armies in Europe! But thousands are fleeing out of it: from January to June, 2018 more than 11,000 officers and contract employees left the ranks of the UAF, and it is expected that 18,000 more people will leave before the year ends.
So the photo of the Ukrainian president against the backdrop of the slender ranks of military personnel taken on the occasion of a parade (or a parade on the occasion of a photo?) is nothing more than a smokescreen covering the gaping holes in the Ukrainian army.
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