ATO participants in the east of Ukraine say they are fighting against Russians armed with Russian weapons.
In response to the Verkhovna Rada’s demand to declare a state of war in the east of Ukraine, the head of state Petro Poroshenko explained to the members of the Parliament why he is against such a decision. According to the President, in the state of war, supplies of foreign weaponry necessary for the national army will be prohibited, and the International Monetary Fund support for the Ukraine will be made impossible, without the loans of which the economy cannot exit the crisis.
What do the participants of the antiterrorist operation (ATO) think regarding the rationale of declaring a state of war and according arguments on part of the government? Commander of the 4th troop of “Dnipro” battalion, Maidan sotnyk, Volodymyr Parasiuk:
“We have to declare a state of war, as war is underway in our country, people are dying here. We have to. We understand that the economy is also very important, but the lives of our soldiers are more important. If there is a state of war, the soldiers will have their hands untied to engage in military action. Now the antiterrorist operation has many labels and bureaucracy, and if there is a state of war, it will be completely different format of our fight against the enemy. In particular, in this case our aviation will be able to become more active, landing blows to the enemy’s positions. And I am sure that if there is a state of war, then all world countries will help us and not prohibit weapon supplies to us.”
On July 23rd President Petro Poroshenko signed the bill passed in the Verkhovna Rada last Tuesday regarding the approval of his order about partial mobilization. According to military experts, the third stage of mobilization should increase ATO forces by 60 thousand, so almost double them. Volodymyr Parasiuk calls for the Ukrainian government to send MP’s to the military action zone instead of rookies:
“The government and sellout generals have to understand that a Ukrainian patriot, a Ukrainian soldier is not just a resource, they are a human being with a soul. We are witnessing yet another mobilization stage, but we still cannot see coordinated commandment of the operation, there is no commandment in itself. The border area with Russia is being held by simple guys that took initiative and are making their own decisions. It is necessary to give the soldier everything he needs: a bulletproof vest, boots, a helmet. And enlisting rookies during mobilization, which would immediately become suicidal, is unreasonable. That the mothers are protesting at the military commissariats and demanding that everyone be summoned to the army, including the sons of the ‘elite,’ is a fact. I want to say that this war will end with our victory, and when we return to our cities, all these corrupt governors will pay. I am for summoning government officials of all levels here, to the military action zone – from the Verkhovna Rada to the local councils. Every member is a servant to the people, and at the moment they have the opportunity to show who they really are. Go and defend the country!
Pro-Kremlin ideologists claim that in Donbas Ukrainians are fighting Ukrainians, how many Russian soldiers and mercenaries are there in the military action zone?
A lot of mercenaries from Russian territory. We take them hostage frequently. They are Russian citizens and servicemen of the Russian army. At questionings they name their commanders – current officers of the Russian army. The Russian Federation continues sending mercenaries and weapons here. We recently saw with our own eyes how two “Grad” systems crossed our border from Russian territory, shot at our positions, and returned. Of course there are our people here as well, if they can be called so, which are fighting against their own nation, but they are at war for money.
There are reports that new Russian military departments are being sent to the Ukrainian border, including those from Zabaikalye and the Far East. What is the word in the ATO zone regarding the probability of a full-scale invasion of the Russian army in Ukraine?
We need the support of Europe, the US. This is not only Ukraine’s war, but that of the entire world against Putin. A Malaysian Boeing 777 was downed, this resulted in the deaths of almost 300 people. And the Russian President is to blame for this. The entire world has to understand that the Ukrainian people are at war with an occupant who wants to create a new empire. We, the Ukrainians, did not attack anyone, we are defending our own turf. Yes, Putin might deploy his own army and begin a full-scale war against Ukraine. His power lies in oil and gas, and I think he is afraid of war, as in this case he will be unable to sell them to European countries and will lose a lot of money. Both Ukraine and Europe have to comprehend one thing: when there is a possibility to put pressure on Russia, it has to be done without delay. Everyone already knows that the Malaysian passenger plane was downed by the Russian soldiers. And now the West has to pressure Putin with economical sanctions. The Russian leader made a lot of mistakes during his rule. It is possible that Putin planned to easily chip off a part of Ukraine, but he never expected such resistance, coordination and unity of Ukrainians,” thinks the commander of the 4th troop of “Dnipro” battalion, sotnyk of Maidan Volodymyr Parasiuk.
Correspondent of the Ukrainian service of RS Dmytro Shurkhalo, who has been to one of the bases of the volunteer battalion “Aydar” in Luhansk oblast, said that in the recent days the battalion suffered losses.
“Today they are paying their respects at the base. But I can say that the soldiers’ moods have not changed here in the last days at all. Despite the losses, there are many volunteers. It cannot be said that someone slacked off on the front line. On the contrary, they want to go to the front line. They don’t let the rookies go, they want them to go through training first, to get used to shooting weapons. I cannot say that the Boeing catastrophe and wartime losses somehow made an influence on the military spirit in the battalion I am currently located with. Aydar battalion is an exclusively volunteer unit. Here the majority are local citizens, but there are also soldiers from all over Ukraine.
Are there any common traits among the volunteers: age, social status?
The people are very different. The two main groups are citizens of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, as well as people who were in Maidan this winter and went to fight after Maidan for the territory integrity and independence of Ukraine.
And how do these two groups communicate, are there any contradictions?
There are different problems, but there are no difference among the people. The locals from nearby localities, those that are under the separatists’ control, usually don’t want to be filmed. They are very worried for their families and friends.
Has anything changed in the separatists’ actions in the recent days?
The soldiers are saying that the separatists are resisting quite hard. The deputy of the battalion spoke to the soldiers and warned them that the battles for Lysychansk may be quite difficult. He says the soldiers have to be seriously motivated.
Source: Radio Svoboda
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina