Most Ukrainian Soldiers Don't Want to Fight
by Stephen Lendman
Ukraine is America's newest colony. A dagger targeting Russia's heartland. Run by fascist putschists. With no legitimacy whatever.
Waging war on their own people. Risking greater central European conflict. Perhaps direct confrontation with Russia. Supported by US-dominated NATO.
Dirty war against Donbas continues. Despite illegitimate oligarch president Petro Poroshenko's "regime of silence."
A US stooge. Installed to serve Western interests. At the expense of his own people. Impoverished before Washington's coup.
More deeply under IMF diktats. Economic crisis conditions. Ukraine's currency (the hryvnia) lost around half its value against dollars in 2014.
Kiev struggles to avoid bankruptcy. Unable to pay its bills without outside help. Yet prioritizes military spending. War on Donbas.
Using conscripts reluctant to fight. Especially against their own people. Military service in Ukraine is mandatory.
Reinstituted last spring. A decree saying "Ukrainian male citizens who are physically qualified for military service, over 18 years old and older, but who have not reached the age of 25, and who have no right for exemption from military service" will be required to serve.
Because of "deteriorating situation in the east and south of Ukraine, activities of illegally formed armed pro-Russian groups, the seizure and blockade of the state administration buildings, military administration facilities, and military bases…"
As well as "interference of the Russian Federation into the interior affairs of Ukraine."
Hard truths are polar opposite official Big Lies. Ukrainian male youths have no choice. Used as cannon fodder against Donbas.
Ukrainian soldiers are notoriously underpaid. Poorly fed and clothed. Deplorably treated overall.
No wonder most don't want to serve. Especially when sent to fight. Meet Vladimir. A Ukrainian army deserter.
Remaining anonymous. For obvious reasons. Explained how conscription works. What life is like in Ukraine's army.
"They came for me right at home. And said how much I would have to pay to avoid being mobilized: 1,000 dollars."
"There were four of them, and the conversation was a short one. Either you give us money or you come with us to the mobilization center in five minutes."
"And three hours later I was wearing the uniform only because once upon a time I underwent a military orientation at the university and received an officer's commission."
"They had no right to call me up at all because I never actually served in the Ukrainian military."
"I was never drafted and in any event my specialty did not correspond to the job in which they placed me."
Anyone paying required bribes avoid service. Others have no choice. "People who serve are those who had nowhere else to go," said Vladimir.
"Those who have no work and have nowhere to live. And that’s 90% of the Ukrainian Army. People who understand what is happening are doing their best to avoid service."
Vladimir served for one month. Hospitalized for ill health. Training was harsh. He developed pneumonia. Didn't see combat.
Military commanders are disobeyed. Especially by soldiers sent to fight, he said.
"This is no army. I don't even know what to call it. It exists only due to volunteers."
"If it weren't for volunteers, everyone would run for home. They simply think they are better off at war than at home."
"Plus they are being paid for it, which is something they would not receive at their village."
Pay is awful. Deserters receive half their salaries, said Vladimir. They can stay home and get paid.
The defense ministry provides practically no support. Most comes from volunteers. For food, clothing, other essentials.
Most aren't trained to use weapons they're given. At most one-third fight for their beliefs. Others because they're threatened with imprisonment.
Fights break out between volunteers and conscripts. "When drunk, they even shoot one another," said Vladimir.
They all drink. Conscripts, volunteers and officers. They go to the nearest towns and get drunk.
About 30% desert, Vladimir believes. With their weapons. To sell for cash. Some are caught. Others escape.
Foreign soldiers serve in Ukraine's military. Vladimir didn't meet them. Polish detachments are involved, he said. Perhaps others. Mercenaries.
Vladimir deserted. Went to Donetsk. Passed through a checkpoint OK. In civilian clothes. With proper documents.
He now fights against Kiev's military. "They would shoot me without even thinking about it," he said.
"They wanted to shoot me (because) my father is from Donetsk." Ukrainian soldiers are told as little as possible.
"The military leadership does not tell the soldiers anything," said Vladimir. "The soldiers simply shoot but don’t see where their bullets and shells land."
"They are told to shoot, so they do. They are not told what the target is, only its coordinates. And they do not know what effect their fire has."
Most want nothing to do with fighting. "They would love to lay down their arms and go home."
Kiev has other ideas. Directed by US officials. Crush Donbas freedom fighters. Confront Russia. Maybe start WW III.
Lunatics in Kiev and Washington make anything possible. Something for concern on New Year's day. Throughout the coming months.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.