By Robert van Voren
Yesterday’s long awaited and seriously delayed army intervention can best be described as a day of humiliation. As if the Ukrainian people and its army needed anything like this.
What happened yesterday? The anti-terror law backfired spectacularly. The wrong legal framework, the wrong material and operational plans that were known to the Russian command even before it reached the Ukrainian soldiers finished the Ukrainian army off. A slow moving Ukrainian army equipped with tracked APC’s slowly moved as if they were on their way to conquer a field rather than a city. As shown on Western media, a well in advance positioned single truck blocked the road, forcing them on a dirt road where a dozen demonstrators subsequently forced them into a field and the mud. And that stopped the Ukrainian army: confused soldiers had no idea how to handle a dozen demonstrators.
Whoever thought out this battle plan and whoever approved it should be fired immediately. It is hard not to think that this was done by purpose just to sabotage the effort.
So what needs to change? The state of emergency needs to be declared in the whole Donbas area. The lame excuse that it would stop elections, is nonsensical as candidates cannot campaign in this area anyway. It grants the soldiers police rights and they can arrest the demonstrators that block their advance. All 20 of them!
The Ukrainian army needs to discontinue using these slow moving gas gurgling tracked APC’s, with soldiers sitting on top completely exposed, and switch to much faster moving regular army trucks and jeeps. An army unit should be at least 250 men composed of some jeeps, a modern bulldozer or tractor and 20 trucks. Each truck should hold not more than 12 soldiers and they should be supplied with anti-armor weapons.
They should be allowed to engage any obstacle, to set on fire and/or push off the road. Any anti army demonstrator should be arrested on the spot, handcuffed and taken along with the soldiers. Let them share the risk with the soldiers!
The current central USSR-style command style, which seems to inform the Russians first, needs to be decentralized and the field commanders should get total freedom to roam and patrol the Donbas area and to engage whoever is hostile to the legitimate army on patrol. Unlike yesterday the moves of the army will not be anticipated and you actually will be able to get into contact with the enemy. Also, only send in units that publicly declare that they are ready to fight anything that stops them during their legitimate patrols.
If the army starts patrolling the streets again, it will encourage the silent majority that supports this army to come out and to offer their support, just like they did when demonstrators came out to the streets on Maidan. Now people are scared and do not feel any support or defense coming from Kyiv.
Get your army on the road and into the public and fight those that are out to destroy your state. If not, you might as well shorten the pain for all by simply negotiating with “benevolent papa Putin” what part of Ukraine he’s willing to let you have, if any.
This does not have to take long: you can form these units in a day and whoever commands them will have to present quick results in order to be allowed to continue commanding them. In a few weeks you will have cleaned out both your command and the Donbas of hostile elements.
Good luck. It is your last chance for a united Ukraine!