Commentary by Andrew Korybko, Oriental Review, Feb. 26, 2015
One can’t help but think that these hundreds of young men would have been of better service to their country by helping to rebuild its economy, instead of being forced to destroy Donbass and lose their lives in the process.
The Western media’s latest tall tale is that Russia is supposedly tricking its greenest conscripts into ‘invading Ukraine’ under the auspices that they’re being sent to Rostov instead, and threatening them with detention in a military prison if they refuse. They got the idea right – young recruits being forced into a war they don’t want to fight – but they mixed up the actors and the battlefield; it’s actually Ukraine that’s forcing its young men to fight in Donbass, not Russia forcing its own to fight in Ukraine. One doesn’t have to take the author’s words for it, though, since the Western media has surprisingly published several accounts that corroborate this truth, and they’re definitely worth looking into.
The dangerous inexperience of youth
Ukraine’s recruits are dramatically unprepared for war, and actually pose a greater threat to themselves than any ‘pro-Russian separatist’ does. Take a look at what the UK’s The Sunday Times published over the weekend:
An elite soldier who resigned from the British MobArmy to train Ukrainian forces fighting Russian-backed separatists has revealed the true extent of disarray in Kiev’s military.
He said the string of bloody defeats for Ukraine, including last week’s fall of Debaltseve, was due largely to a failure of command and a lack of skills and discipline.
The 40-year-old, a naturalised Briton of Ukrainian descent, who served in Afghanistan and the Middle East, said Ukraine’s forces, made up largely of volunteers and conscripts, suffer great casualties because of frequent incidents of friendly fire and the mishandling of weapons.
“Six out of 10 casualties among the Ukrainian volunteers occur because of blue-on-blue shooting [the army term for friendly fire] and the inability to handle weapons,” said the man, who would give only his nom-de-guerre Saffron.
It’s not adults that volunteer for armed service who accidentally shoot themselves or their friends with firearms; it’s immature and inexperienced young men who are forced into battle that make such ‘mistakes’. For all that is known, it may even be that some of the recruits were purposely inflicting non-fatal injuries on themselves or their friends in order to be dismissed from the front lines and hopefully escape the meat grinder that Poroshenko had forced them into.
Like sheep to the slaughter
Kiev’s forces weren’t just defeated by the Eastern Ukrainian militias, they were totally slaughtered, but Poroshenko continues to publicly play dumb about what really happened in Debaltsevo. His troops, on the other hand, aren’t holding their tongue, and they’re enraged at what they view as the President’s personal betrayal of their interests. From the UK Independent:
“We conveyed him our thanks,” ‘Sanya’, a private from the brigade, told The Independent. “We thanked him for his siege denials, we thanked him for equipping us so well, we thanked him for the ceasefire, and we thanked him for sending us out like meat to a grinder.”
Soldiers seemed especially vexed at official military statements that only 13 soldiers had been killed and 157 wounded during the retreat. The number of dead was “clearly in the hundreds,” they said.
‘Sanya’s’ account of mass casualties is also supported by Yury Tandit, the chairman of Ukraine’s “Prisoner Exchange Assist Center”, which operates under the supervision of the Security Service of Ukraine. He said that there are 1,500 Kievan forces missing in action, and realistically speaking, it’s not likely that they’ve been sitting in a tavern eating salo this whole time. It’s more probable that many of them were killed, and that only a scant number of those listed are still alive (let alone uninjured).
All of the abovementioned details confirm what many in the non-Western world were already aware of, and it’s that Kiev’s forces were totally crushed during the recent fighting in Donbass. One can’t help but think that these hundreds of young men would have been of better service to their country by helping to rebuild its economy, instead of being forced to destroy Donbass and lose their lives in the process.
Run while you still can
It’s not just non-Western outsiders that realize the futility of Kiev’s War on Donbass, but also thousands of Ukrainian young men themselves who are cognizant of the imminent catastrophe awaiting them when they’re called up for the draft. As Dmitry Babich quite accurately comments, “Russia invented the most humane method of warfare: inviting the enemy’s male population of the draft age to “wait out” mobilization on the territory of the “hated aggressor.” This witty observation was made in reference to
Putin’s suggestion that the law be changed in order to accommodate the thousands of young Ukrainians who fled to Russia to avoid the draft. That being said, Foreign Policy magazine reports that thousands of others are simply vanishing off the grid in order to dodge their ‘duty’, be it by going to the West or hiding out undercover in a nearby province.
And it’s not just those who are ‘unpatriotic’ that are fleeing the country, but also some of the original participants in EuroMaidan, as documented by Vice magazine. In their piece on the topic, they recount how many of the young pro-Western liberals most fervently in support of regime change last year have now become totally disillusioned with the current reality in the country and are leaving for good to Western Europe. The publication quotes a graduate researcher writing a dissertation on the Maidan youth, who notes that:
The Maidan allowed a lot of people to see an idealistic version of change, but they also saw what implementation of that change would actually mean. They understood that implementation was going to prevent actual radical change, because it’s too hard to implement things that would actually make things different in Ukraine.
In light of what appears to be an increasingly collective understanding of Ukraine’s failure as a state, thousands of young recruits and ‘intellectuals’ alike are expected to continue fleeing their former country, which they no longer recognize ever since the pro-Western coup seized power over a year ago. They’re running while they still can, since they know fully well that if the government catches them before they escape the draft, they’ll either be imprisoned or sent to a front-line meat grinder, neither of which looks attractive to a young man with future plans.
The sad reality of the Ukrainian Civil War is how inaccurately the Western mainstream media reports on the situation. On the one hand, much of what they say is actually true, except they substitute “Ukraine” for “Russia” and pass off every tragedy as Moscow’s fault. This is the way it’s been since they first started covering the carnage in Eastern Ukraine, and it’s had the effect of warping their audience’s perception of what truly is transpiring there. It’s not Moscow that’s destroying Donbass, it’s Kiev, just like it isn’t Russia that’s forcing its young men to fight and die in that war, but Ukraine. If there’s one primary lesson that readers can thus learn from observing Western reporting on Ukraine’s Civil War, it’s that everything bad that Russia is accused of doing is actually what Ukraine has done, and that by simply reversing the two names, they’ll see that the truth behind the Donbass tragedy was right in front of them the entire time.
Andrew Korybko is a regular contributor at Russia Insider.
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