Monday, 30 May 2022 — The Van Says…
Every blog post needs a good photo, but regarding those who have fallen and been abandoned, there are no good photos
Since Russia’s Special Operation in the Ukraine began in February, a multitude of reports have been made regarding both mass graves as well as the manner in which the Ukrainian Armed Forces abandon their dead in battle. The investigation concerning mass graves is currently ongoing in the Ukraine, Donbass Republics and Russia, yet the callous way in which Kiev treats not only those on the battlefield who have paid the ultimate price, but also their family members is a matter that needs to be examined in more depth.
With war comes death, and as we have all seen, the number of casualties in the current conflict rises with every day. Whilst in other conflicts, every effort is made to ensure that the fallen are not abandoned by their comrades and receive the recognition they deserve, this war has seen the Ukrainian Armed Forces abandoning their comrades, Russian forces approaching positions that resemble morgues.
Since the dawn of time, the world has seen conflict and as the eons have passed, it has become part of the unwritten code of war that the dead be afforded not only the respect of a burial but also the recognition of the commitment that they have made for their cause. This gives respect to fellow warriors, but also gives closure to those who have lost a loved one. Whilst innumerable military cemeteries as well as graves are dotted around the globe which ensure that those who have gone are not forgotten, the Ukrainian side in this conflict appears to have ignored this, and for more than one reason.
Innumerable and Inexperienced
A recent article highlighted the plight of very many Ukrainian servicemen who have been pressed into service and in all honesty hardly fit the description of a soldier. With Russia enjoying the successes it is, the regime in Kiev now faces a critical manpower shortage, men from all over the country who are unfit for the armed services being rounded up to be sent to the frontline, and on vastly lower pay and benefits compared to the regular armed forces. The equipment they receive is scant to say the least, yet the most important shortfall is that of training. With there being the staffing shortages that there are, the training that new recruits are given is next to zero, they not having even the most basic knowledge of how they are supposed to fight. Along with the resultant absence of drill and discipline, these guys just do not stand a chance when facing an advancing army as so much of the front line does today.
Armed with little other than a rifle that they hardly know how to use, these hapless guys stand no chance whatsoever of putting up any resistance at all as the Russians use all manner of weapons systems along with sound military training. The use of both artillery and Grad rocket launchers has come to typify this operation, and without the knowledge to either protect themselves or suppress their enemies, the number of dead is now skyrocketing in combat zones, the Russians encountering the most grisly of sights as they slowly make their way forward. There are reasons for this, yet none of them make sense to either civilian or soldier.
Camaraderie in Combat
One of the things that makes combat units really effective is the camaraderie that exists between their members, above all when under pressure. Viewed from another perspective, should that spirit not exist in a military formation, this not only adversely affects morale, but reduces exponentially the effectiveness of the group. Throwing diverse and unwilling people who should not be in the army together in a military unit with little or no training shares many parallels with penal battalions of the past, not least the appalling rates of attrition that are being seen today.
The Ukraine was in the direst of financial straits long before current hostilities began and three months of war have not made the situation any better. With an infrastructure that is now in tatters, the government in Kiev is now having the greatest of difficulties getting resources to the frontline, the removal of bodies in the other direction being very low on its list of priorities. Just as with fuel, manpower and vehicles are at an absolute premium, the armed forces not wanting to bother with matters that do not have a direct bearing on military operations.
There are literally millions of people in the country who have loved ones either in the areas where combat is taking place or who are in uniform elsewhere. With communications being as bad as they are, in many cases, soldiers are completely isolated from those they know, their families living in the hope that nothing has happened and that they will one day return home safe. Should the true number of casualties and the desperate situation of so many become known, this would cause the morale and spirit of the country to plummet. The country has been under de facto martial law for a number of years, yet if the public were to rise up en masse, this could be the tipping point that would see a real power shift in Kiev. What they don’t know doesn’t hurt them and for as long as millions are in the dark regarding the dead and wounded, Zelenskiy can continue to hog the limelight in the West.
Pensions and Payouts
In the case that a soldier die or suffer life-changing injuries in war, either he or his nearest and dearest can receive benefits from the state in a number of forms. In light of the current situation facing Kiev, this means that should soldiers be confirmed as killed in action, this means that the government is obliged to make the necessary payments from a budget that is already far in the red. Should the fallen be left on the battlefield with no names taken, the dead can be listed as MIA, missing men meaning that families who have lost loved ones miss out on what is rightly theirs. The Ukraine has over recent years become a beggar state, yet the inhumanity being exercised by the government today truly beggars belief.
Death is the constant companion of soldiers in war, yet in the current climate, thousands of people who should be nowhere near the battlefield are being lost as Kiev’s throwaway soldiers. Just treated as mere numbers, they are sent to the heart of battle with neither the training nor tools to do the job that the army demands, few knowing their comrades and even fewer knowing how to fight a war.
It is hardly surprising that so many are paying the price of a proxy war, but being left behind by their erstwhile colleagues, those who sent them to their deaths hope never to pay the price of pensions and payouts, the fate of unknown soldiers never being known to the ones who loved them. The day will come when the truth again reigns, yet until it does, countless more poor souls will be left behind as the Ukraine is also abandoned to the course of history…
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