Despite a ceasefire brokered in Minsk between Russia and Ukraine and the pulling back of heavy artillery on both sides, warfare doesn’t stop in eastern Ukraine. Russian proxies and regular army continue shelling at Ukrainian forces’ positions on daily basis. In the meantime, UA president Poroshenko announced UA volunteer battalions withdrawal from the front lines in eastern Ukraine. Soldiers of the regular UA army fear this decision will turn to many death among UA soldiers that remain to serve there: “The enemy is strong and UA must ensure even stronger defense instead of withdrawal”.
The following three stories aim to highlight:
1) Who is really supports UA army;
2) What challenges UA soldiers face on the front lines;
3) Why UA soldiers think UA president Poroshenko’s decision on “withdrawal” from the front lines is wrong
We have heard and read a lot about volunteers providing food, medical supplies, and other essentials for the Ukrainian soldiers at the front. At the same time the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and government officials have claimed that the government is doing its job in supplying the soldiers with everything they need.
EMPR has decided to see for ourselves how things stand in regard to how well the soldiers in the battle zone in eastern Ukraine are being taken care of. In our search for the truth and to bring our readers a firsthand account our correspondent spent two days with a volunteer group in the Donetsk oblast. We want to share with our readers the remarkable, unique system the volunteers have worked out to provide aid to the patriots of Ukraine who with their strength of spirit, desire for justice and often with their own lives are defending our land from the Russian invaders.
Meet the charitable organization “Mother’s Watch” in Kyiv. Here volunteers collect aid for the Ukrainian soldiers. Here protective camouflage nets are made, bread and cakes and meat pies are baked, stuffed dumplings and meat balls are cooked, and soup and borshch ingredients are dehydrated. This is where our journey accompanying the volunteers from the “Association of Ukrainian Veterans of Afghanistan” begins. The group of veterans delivers the goods to the soldiers at the front.
We leave Kyiv at night and by morning we arrive in Donetsk oblast.
Our first stop is a small village where 11 divisions of a mechanized infantry battalion are based. Here we leave half of the goods. The battalion has been here for three months already. They are tired. And waiting for their rotation to end. Next we’re off to the see the “Right Sector.”
Music is in the air as volunteers from the organization “Mother’s Watch” weave camouflage nets for the soldiers and sing their hearts out. Soon the vans arrive. Food, water, and other essentials are loaded into the vans. By the next morning the vans are at the front. They are unloaded and the goods are distributed among the soldiers. The soldiers tell us that if the volunteers did not bring them the supplies they need the army would not be able to keep going for more than two weeks.
The soldiers of the Ukrainian Army share with the volunteers all the ceasefire violations the opponent has committed, the problems within the army, and their thoughts on how and by whom Ukraine could be helped in the war against Russian aggression.
In February, 2015, Andrei Hrachev, a combat doctor with the 93 Battalion together with other soldiers addressed an appeal to the President of Ukraine in which they called on the president to bring order to the country, to get rid of corruption, and to fulfill the pre-election promises. The appeal was full of obscene language but it hit record highs in popularity. Andrei Hrachev became an Internet star. In March, 2015 Petro Poroshenko issued an order that the volunteer battalions Right Sector and OUN must either become a part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine or leave the battle zone. Here is Andrei Hrachev’s response to the President’s order.
1) Ukrainian volunteers camouflage netting;
2) Packaging the aid before delivery to the front lines;
3) Volunteer vehicles at the front lines;
4) Front lines near Donetsk International airport;
5) Aid packages unloading and photo picturing the process of aid receiving by volunteer battalions;
6) One of handcrafted Ukrainian APCs made by Ukrainian volunteers.