Donbas militias are “UNITS OF THE RUSSIAN ARMY,” says Babchenko

A Russian mercenary in Donbas, Ukraine

A Russian mercenary in Donbas, Ukraine 

International, More, War in the Donbas

Edited by: A. N.

Having launched a “hybrid” war giving it plausible deniability for many, Russia now has a “hybrid” army, a development that Moscow may not understand the full implications of and one that should give everyone pause, according to Russian commentator Arkady Babchenko.

Arkady Babchenko, Russian journalist (Image: Facebook)

Arkady Babchenko, Russian journalist (Image: Facebook)

Babchenko notes that Moscow has insisted that between two-thirds and three-quarters of those fighting on the Russian side in Ukraine are local people, with the rest being Russian volunteers. Consequently, the Ukrainian conflict should be perceived by the world as “a civil war,” with “a certain people of the Donbas resisting colonization” by Kyiv.

All right, the analyst says, “let’s consider one aspect of this assertion, leaving aside all the rest,” including the fact that Russia has a troop concentration on the Ukrainian border comparable in size to the entire Ukrainian military, that units of that force have gone into Ukraine on occasion, and that they have fired from Russian territory unto Ukrainian land.

An armed personnel carrier full of mercenaries from Russia in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: inforesist.org)

An armed personnel carrier full of mercenaries from Russia in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: inforesist.org)

And “let’s leave in peace even Crimea,” about which there are really “no more questions” because what is involved there is “annexation and occupation of the purest kind.”

Instead, Babchenko says, “let’s consider a single argument: the existence of a certain mythical ‘people of the Donbas.’” Let’s even allow that “such an ethno-cultural group exists. Let’s not carp: there is a people of the Moscow region, there is a people of [the Moscow suburb of] Northern Butovo; there is a people of Kuusinen Street, and so there is a people of the Donbas.”

Russian Federation servicemen from Chechnia arriving in Donbas in 2014 (Image: AFP)

Russian Federation servicemen from Chechnia arriving in Donbas in 2014 (Image: AFP)

In that event and if we define “a people by its place of residence,” then there is no other possible conclusion except that “this is not a Ukrainian civil war.” Instead, “it is a Buryat-Ukrainian war, and also a Chechen-Ukrainian one, and also an Osetin-Ukrainian conflict; and yet again a Ekaterinburg-Ukrainian war.”

(Those who say that “the people of Ekaterinburg” are too few to count forget that the number of people fighting on Moscow’s side in the Donbas is much smaller than their total, he points out.)

Igor Bezler, professional Russian military intelligence officer and alleged war criminal. His armed group is alleged to have tortured and killed hundreds of Ukraine's soldiers and civilians (Image: Wikipedia)

Igor Bezler, professional Russian military intelligence officer and alleged war criminal. His armed group is alleged to have tortured and killed hundreds of Ukraine’s soldiers and civilians (Image: Wikipedia)

But if one comes to the obvious conclusion that the definition of the sides in the war according to “a mythical people or more precisely by the place of the recruiting of the combatants is not possible, then one is driven to the very simple conclusion: “Russia began this war. Russia occupied part of the territory of a neighboring country.”

Moreover, Babchenko continues, “Russia sent in diversionary groups and changed the local governments. Russia formed the new institutions of power. Russia supplied arms.” Russia even provided uniforms and badges. Indeed, he writes, “having adopted the strategy of hybrid wars as its main principle, Russia itself has in effect transformed its own army into a hybrid one as well.”

Alexander Yenenko being interviewed by journalists of the Russian newspaper Gazeta.ru. Alexander is a Russian professional soldier who is criminally charged for desertion for refusing to enlist into "volunteer" Russian military force in the Donbas (Image: Gazeta.ru)

Alexander Yenenko being interviewed by journalists of the Russian newspaper Gazeta.ru. Alexander is a Russian professional soldier who is criminally charged for desertion for refusing to enlist into “volunteer” Russian military force in the Donbas (Image: Gazeta.ru)

“The Donetsk ‘militia’ is thus part of the hybrid Russian army which is distinguished from all the other parts of [Russia’s] hybrid army only by the fact that it is recruited on the territory of the Donbas,” something which has “exactly the same significance as if it were recruited in Buryatia or [city of] Kamyshlov or South Osetia [provinces of the Russian Federation — Ed.].”

That is, precisely, “nothing” because the militants recruited by Russia on the territory of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts are “UNITS OF THE RUSSIAN ARMY.” And consequently, just as the recruiting of Russian soldiers in Buryatia doesn’t make this war a Buryat-Ukrainian one, so too, recruiting them in the Donbas doesn’t make it a Ukrainian civil war.

Consequently, Babchenko concludes, what is taking place, even if some won’t admit it, is nothing other than “a Russian-Ukrainian war. Period.”

  • A Russian mercenary in the Donbas with heavily bleeding leg wounds being evacuated in the rear (Image: censor.net.ua)
    A Russian mercenary in the Donbas with heavily bleeding leg wounds being evacuated in the rear (Image: censor.net.ua)
  • Anatoliy Kudrin, a Russian professional soldier who received a prison term for desertion when he refused to enlist into "volunteer" Russian army in the Donbas (Image: Gazeta.ru)
    Anatoliy Kudrin, a Russian professional soldier who received a prison term for desertion when he refused to enlist into "volunteer" Russian army in the Donbas (Image: Gazeta.ru)
  • The Russian Federation have been using ethnically non-Russian troops for its aggression in Ukraine. Russian Federation servicemen from Chechnia arriving to fight in the Donbas in 2014 (Image: AFP)
    The Russian Federation have been using ethnically non-Russian troops for its aggression in Ukraine. Russian Federation servicemen from Chechnia arriving to fight in the Donbas in 2014 (Image: AFP)
  • Devastation caused by Russian aggression in Donbas, Ukraine (village of Peski) (Image: http://maxrokotansky.livejournal.com)
    Devastation caused by Russian aggression in Donbas, Ukraine (village of Peski) (Image: http://maxrokotansky.livejournal.com)
  • Devastation caused by Russian aggression in Donbas, Ukraine (village of Peski) (Image: http://maxrokotansky.livejournal.com)
    Devastation caused by Russian aggression in Donbas, Ukraine (village of Peski) (Image: http://maxrokotansky.livejournal.com)
  • Devastation caused by Russian aggression in Donbas, Ukraine (village of Peski) (Image: http://maxrokotansky.livejournal.com)
    Devastation caused by Russian aggression in Donbas, Ukraine (village of Peski) (Image: http://maxrokotansky.livejournal.com)
  • Russian mercenary at the devasted Donetsk airport in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: LB.ua)
    Russian mercenary at the devasted Donetsk airport in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: LB.ua)
  • Devastation at Donetsk airport after the military aggression in the Donbas, Ukraine (Image: LB.ua)
    Devastation at Donetsk airport after the military aggression in the Donbas, Ukraine (Image: LB.ua)
  • Devastation caused by the Russian aggression in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: Tim Judah | NYRblog)
    Devastation caused by the Russian aggression in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: Tim Judah | NYRblog)
  • One of the groups of Russian special forces and mercenaries that started the Russian invasion in Donbas, Ukraine
    One of the groups of Russian special forces and mercenaries that started the Russian invasion in Donbas, Ukraine
  • Devastation caused by the Russian aggression in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: Tim Judah | NYRblog)
    Devastation caused by the Russian aggression in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: Tim Judah | NYRblog)
  • Russian pseudo-Cossack mercenaries in Donbas, Ukraine posing with their weapons during the Russian military invasion of Ukraine in 2014 (Image: nr2.com.ua)
    Russian pseudo-Cossack mercenaries in Donbas, Ukraine posing with their weapons during the Russian military invasion of Ukraine in 2014 (Image: nr2.com.ua)
  • Russian mercenaries in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: uainfo.org)
    Russian mercenaries in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: uainfo.org)
  • A house in Donbas destroyed by Russian artillery fire (Image: YouTube screengrab)
    A house in Donbas destroyed by Russian artillery fire (Image: YouTube screengrab)
  • An armored personnel carrier with Russian "hybrid" military in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: inforesist.org)
    An armored personnel carrier with Russian "hybrid" military in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: inforesist.org)
  • Russian mercenaries from Chechnya in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: inforesist.org)
    Russian mercenaries from Chechnya region in Donbas, Ukraine (Image: inforesist.org)
  • Russian mercenaries in Ukraine
    Russian mercenaries in Donbas, Ukraine
  • A Russian soldier from Buryatia fighting in Donbas
    A Russian soldier from Buryatia fighting in Donbas
  • Devastation from the Russian invasion in Donbas, Ukraine
    Devastation from the Russian invasion in Donbas, Ukraine
  • Some of the devastation in the Donbas caused by the Russian military aggression: ruins of the Donetsk airport.
    Some of the devastation in the Donbas caused by the Russian military aggression: ruins of the Donetsk airport.
  • War in Donbas, cannon
  • War in Donbas
  • Russo-Ukrainian war in the Donbas, Ukraine
    Russo-Ukrainian war in the Donbas, Ukraine, tank fire

Edited by: A. N.

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