Even before the independence referenda in May 2014 and the outbreak of full-scale war, Donbass had avenged the deaths in Odessa and the former Ukraine and made the latter pay a price. Within a short span of time, the number of Ukrainian Armed Forces and other security and volunteer troops had gone up into the hundreds.
On May 11th, I had a conversation with an old friend who has been fighting in Donbass since the very first months of the conflict. In his approximate assessment, the UAF, National Guard, and nationalist battalions’ losses are upwards of 10,000 dead. Other sources in Donbass have voiced figures for Ukrainian losses which exceed this number by several times.
No matter what, it is clear that the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ losses are especially great. After all, the Ukrainian army was poorly prepared for war and did not understand what it was fighting for when it was thrown against Donbass. Ukrainian troops were treated accordingly – as cannon fodder.
The topic of losses in the Donbass war is a very complex one. Allow me to share a rather demonstrative anecdote. An acquaintance of mine in Donbass recently shared a story of how, earlier in the war, Cossack volunteers from Russia (many have fought in the war) attacked an advancing UAF unit despite being outnumbered. After a brief battle, or rather swift beating, the Ukrainian unit was completely destroyed, after which the Cossack commander could see the vanquished. They turned out to be young Russian boys 18-19 years old who, apparently, had just recently been mobilized into the Ukrainian army. The commander slung his rifle on a tree branch and for quite some time could not stand to see what had been done.
Russians in Donbass are killing Russians. The main participants of the Euromaidan, the people from nationalist Galicia, having accomplished their Euromaidan coup have gone to make money in Poland and Russia. Hence why I do not belong to those “patriots” who rejoice over UAF deaths. The main culprits of this war are the Jewish oligarchs and the Ukrainian Nazis (to a certain extent funded by the former) profiting from the carnage.
The number of Ukrainian losses has been consistently, deliberately underestimated by the Ukrainian side for two reasons – firstly, so as to not shock public opinion and destroy the myth of the “invincible Ukrainian army” and, secondly, in order to not be responsible for the expensive procedures of identifying bodies, arranging funerals, and providing pensions to victims’ families. President Poroshenko saves on everything, except his own profits.
Such realities of the war in the former Ukraine are evermore relevant.At the present time, we are seeing Ukraine actively prepare for a new war. Troops and military vehicles are being pulled up to the frontline; the Ukrainian army’s rear infrastructure is being readied; and ammunition is being constantly transported around. For example, on May 7th, 20 wagons carrying various ammunitions were spotted arriving at the train station in Rubezhnoe on the border with the LPR. This is a confirmation that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are preparing for aggressive operations.
But if the Ukrainians go on the offensive, the death count will be higher than in the summer campaign of 2014. Who will Ukraine have to conscript next?