Paratroop veterans who arrived in the capital from 12 Ukrainian regions demand that the government fire the ATO leadership and stop mobilizing young inexperienced boys.
Having formed a column, the paratroopers marched from Kyiv Pechersk Monastery to the Administration of the President, the Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers. Near every administrative building, the chairman of the Ukrainian Paratrooper Union Serhiy Lisovy read the address and handed it over together with annexes to the representatives of the government.
“We prepared an address to our government with a detailed list of our demands and insist that these demands be examined and satisfied within a month’s time, otherwise we will talk differently,” concluded the head of the Ukrainian Paratrooper Union, colonel Serhiy Lisovy.
The demands also include cleaning up the Defense Ministry of Ukraine; appropriate organization and holding of dignified funerals for the fallen ATO participants; provision of the families of the fallen ATO participants with accommodation and status of ‘combat participants’ of all ATO participants; solution of social problems of the families of the servicemen who came from Crimea.
Poroshenko was given a month to solve these issues, otherwise they entertain the possibility of surrounding the President’s Administration with burning tires, there might be other, no less radical measures. At least that was what was heard from the column of paratroopers.
The paratrooper veterans were supported by the wives, sisters and mothers of the fighters, who have been in the ATO zone without rotation or any holidays for almost half a year now.
“If the children of the leaders of the country had come out to the front line without any equipment and fought the way our children do, and only had a rest when they returned in the shape of ‘cargo 200,’ I am sure that the Verkhovna Rada would make other decisions,” said a mother of a soldier, who is currently undergoing treatment at the Kyiv Military Hospital, with tears in her eyes.
Paratroopers who had ‘smelled gunpowder’ before were part of the column, however, being over 50 years of age, it is not easy for them to get to the front:
“They mobilize rookies without training, but turn away from us,” says Volodymyr Stepanovuch, a paratrooper Afghanistan veteran. “We are not afraid of death, because we have already looked it in the eye many times, let them take us to war, why are they taking the boys? It seems that someone is doing this on purpose: destroying the young people of our nation. Without experience, without protective equipment, they are taking them to war and using them as canon fodder. They are giving up the war,” the paratrooper continues. “I signed up three months ago and they refuse to take me.”
Meanwhile, the head of the Vinnytsya Paratrooper Union Viktor Malynovsky claims that they have to create their own so-called partisan troops and gradually add them into the ranks of the Ukrainian military.
“It is strange and illogical, to say the least, that the Ukrainian government doesn’t need our experience,” says Viktor Malynovsky. “We are asking and being ignored. If they think we are too old for war, they can use us to train the fighters who will go to the ATO. In general, we have many questions to the government, for example, why have they still not dealt with those who robbed the Ukrainian army and practically destroyed the Armed Forces? This is what I think: someone is benefiting from this and someone is covering it up,” the paratrooper concluded.
About 700 paratroop veterans and servicemen gathered for the protest, however if nothing changes within a month, they promise to increase the number of protesters tenfold and fight for the rights of ATO participants.