Ukraine’s New Model Army

By L. Ledbed


By L. Ledbed

Today’s Ukrainian Army

Earlier, in the “Independent Ukraine” there was a noticeable number of people who voluntarily went to fight in the Donbass. Today in Ukraine, conscripts are massively evading military service as soon as they can – they mostly run abroad “to earn money”. Upon returning, they are energetically caught by the military registration and enlistment offices, the SBU and the police in order to be put to use in the “best European army”.

At first glance, things are going well in the Ukro army. Shortly before the New Year, the soldiers were paid a monetary reward – supposedly savings from canceled parades, exercises and useless purchases. The 2020 “Independent Ukraine” military budget provides for new payments, indexation of official salaries, regular distribution of bonuses, and an increase in monetary allowances to “anti-terrorist operation heroes”. The military is constantly praised both on state television and on channels owned by Ukrainian oligarchs. Heroes are whitewashed and worshipped even after they commit serious crimes such as the sensational murder of journalist Sheremet. In their support, telemarathons, fundraising, rallies and demonstrations are held.

And more recently, it was decided to teach the Armed Forces of “Independent” Ukraine the English language. And not only cadets of military schools, but also fighters of ordinary units. Their propaganda emphasizes that now an ordinary rural lad can return from the army as a philologist with an international bias. Also, the widespread use of the Shakespearean language supposedly makes it easier to learn at training centers, which are led by advisers from NATO countries. Now in the Lviv region officers from the USA, Canada, England, Poland work as instructors. True, in the vast majority of cases, classes are held at a primitive level with the help of gestures and commands explained by translators, which only serve to negatively affect the training of personnel. But the most important thing here is that with the introduction of English, Ukraine can attest to its desire to join NATO.

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It would seem that all is well. After all, the government likes to talk about how the Ukrainian army is the best in Europe. In reality everything is quite different. And the obvious confirmation of this is the recent Zelensky decree on conscription in 2020. If earlier the call was sent out to conscripts who were 20 years old, then now they are drafted at just 18. Even high school and college students who did not have time to draw up deferment documents can be drafted into the army. The meaning of this “reform” is that it allows them to increase the draft contingent by several thousand people. That at least to some extent will close the personnel void formed in the units of the Armed Forces. However, the situation is such that this void will only increase: according to the data of Ukrainian surveys, many contract soldiers are going to quit the ranks of the “defenders of European values” this year.

The majority of the “independent” population finally realized that, while hiding behind patriotic slogans, Kiev turned the conflict in the Donbass into a profitable business project. As evidenced by the latest scandals about the purchase of weapons and military equipment, the plundering of ammunition, medicines, food and money.

But the most serious circumstance that makes it necessary to avoid military service is the losses incurred by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They have grown so markedly that even the “Svidomites”, who previously believed that the “Separs” should be eradicated, suddenly become pacifists and negotiators. Despite the peaceful rhetoric of the current Kiev regime, they seek to suffocate and finish off the Donbass. As a result, the combat activity of Ukrainian troops is growing, and losses are correspondingly increasing. Most often, Ukrainian soldiers are killed by sniper fire, mortars and grenade launchers, bombs, or mines. Most of the dead are young people from 21 to 28 years old from rural areas who were unable to find work abroad and thus evade conscription.

In 2017, 70% of the draftees did not appear at the recruiting stations. A year later, only 8% voluntarily agreed to serve. In 2019, 15,200 people were called up to the Armed Forces, of which 3,000 signed a contract. At the same time, in 2019, about 30,000 military personnel, or about 10% of the total number of the “best army in Europe,” quit.

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