Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bitterness And Cynicism Is Growing In The Ukraine Army

The retreat continues: Ukrainian servicemen approach Artemivsk after withdrawing from the key town of Debaltseve. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Scott Peterson, CSM: Ukraine troops bitterly question their leaders as Kiev pulls back in east (+video)

Today's withdrawal of heavy weapons in accordance with the Minsk cease-fire marks a major reversal for Kiev. For many soldiers, cynicism about commanders is weighing heavily.

Soledar, Ukraine — Haggard Ukrainian Army soldiers withdrew 15 heavy artillery guns Friday, their armored convoy part of a delayed cease-fire agreement with Russian-backed separatists to ease a conflict that has taken nearly 6,000 lives.

With blue and yellow Ukrainian flags flying on an unseasonably warm day, the soldiers hauled their mud-splattered 100mm guns – some of them painted white for camouflage in snow – behind armored personnel carriers. Rebel forces also removed four Grad rocket launchers from front-line positions, the Associated Press reported, and have claimed other pullbacks in recent days.

But the fact that these first steps are being taken 12 days later than agreed – with rebel forces in the meantime capturing the strategic railway hub of Debaltseve – illustrates how separatist units that faced losses last summer have been transformed into a more capable force now making battlefield advances.

WNU Editor: There are many other reasons why morale within the Ukraine military is suffering. The growing number of conscripts who do not want to fight .... including Russian Ukrainians who have no desire at all. Hostility from the local populations, coupled with a lack of leadership and direction from Kiev certainly does not help. But it is also the realization that you are battling a well organized and determined foe .... it is hard to feel motivated when you realize that the other side is not only more motivated, but their weapons and leadership are far more determined to win.

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