Ukraine is being projected as an unstoppable force of heroic fighters on the battlefield by western media and it inspired thousands of ‘volunteers’ from all over the globe to flock to join the fight against Russia.
‘Volunteers’ can be paid 3400 US dollars per month if they decide to work under the Ukrainian government or can even make 1000 to 2000 US dollars per day if they decide to work for private contractors, which qualifies them as mercenaries. They can apply by filling out a form at their nearest Ukrainian embassy to be vetted in total impunity and then be sent to fight without facing any opposition from western governments.
However, when the volunteers join the fight, they are faced with a reality that is far away from the fairy tales that have been depicted on the news incessantly since the start of the conflict. They are confronted by abysmal logistic, corruption and the reality of going against the Russian forces.
Paul Hughes, Canadian volunteer who served in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry described the terrible logistic of the Ukrainian forces by saying:
“I think you’d have to come up with a different word than disorganized,” Hughes said in an interview from Lviv, describing the so-called International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine.
Retired US Marine Colonel Andrew Milburn even described the volunteers as an absolute fiasco:
“A swarm of Fantasists for every one candidate with experience in combat. And even combat experience means little in this war—because trading shots with the Taliban or al Qaeda is quite different from crouching in a freezing foxhole being pummeled by artillery fire.”
Many reported of feeling abandoned by the Ukrainian government when they find out that they are simply being used as cannon fodder. Some report having to live with only one potato per day while facing heavy shelling from Russian artillery fire.
Serhi Lapko, a Ukrainian company commander stationed in Donbass, told the Washington Post that he saw his company go from 120 members down to 54 after only 3 months of conflict, due to death, injuries or desertions. He also felt abandoned by Ukraine.
“Our command takes no responsibility,” Lapko said. “They only take credit for our achievements. They give us no support.”
Dozens of Ukrainian units refused to continue fighting and lay their weapons. LINK Another video complaint was shares by the 72nd Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They uploaded a video on Telegram where they declared that they would no longer fight due to the lack of proper weapons, support and leadership.
Reports of the Ukrainian forces’ incompetence and lack of respect for the lives and well-being of their subordinates are plenty and cause low morale among their troops.
This is not the only barriers that the volunteers are facing when fighting in Ukraine, they also are not granted the same legal protection as regular Ukrainian soldiers. Since they are foreign fighters, they are considered as mercenaries if captured by the Russian forces and can even face death penalty in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). The foreign fighters are also under scrutiny of their own government. LINK, LINK, LINK
For example, the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI), the French security internal security agency, reported that they cannot prevent people from leaving but that they could accuse the foreign fighters of mercenarism or terrorist conspiracy if their actions in Ukraine contravene French laws.
Since many volunteers end up in far-right groups harboring neo-Nazi ideology like the Azov regiment, who is known for its human rights abuses on top of proudly displaying Nazi symbolism, it would not be surprising that if the fighters that do not fall under Russian artillery or simply desert, face prison sentences when returning home.
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