My interest in this conflict has been almost entirely documenting the WMD Liars continued ludicrous “here’s how Zelensky can still win,” propaganda. That and some other atrocities, like Zelensky preventing Ukrainian citizens from leaving. But I haven’t had all that much to talk about for the past while, because Russia switched to a strategy of slowly capturing and occupying more and more area in Ukraine. This was spun as a victory, somehow, by the WMD Liars, but this post on Jeff Bezos’ blog is the first glimpse of the reality of the situation, at least shown by the Lugenpresse.
DRUZHKIVKA, Ukraine — Stuck in their trenches, the Ukrainian volunteers lived off a potato per day as Russian forces pounded them with artillery and Grad rockets on a key eastern front line. Outnumbered, untrained and clutching only light weapons, the men prayed for the barrage to end — and for their own tanks to stop targeting the Russians.
“They [Russians] already know where we are, and when the Ukrainian tank shoots from our side it gives away our position,” said Serhi Lapko, their company commander, recalling the recent battle. “And they start firing back with everything — Grads, mortars.
“And you just pray to survive.”
You know things are going terribly for you when the soldiers are desperate for their own side to never attack, so they can go back to starving on one potato per day. This is what redditors mean when they say that Ukraine is winning, as the reddit dilation brigade would have you believe.
I don’t say this to make fun of the brave men trying not to die in the Ukrainian military. The redditors getting slaughtered was pure kino, but these men deserve far better. The war has been lost, and at this point, the best outcome is a quick and decisive victory for Russia, and a loss for Zelensky.
Ukrainian leaders have projected and nurtured a public image of military invulnerability — of their volunteer and professional forces triumphantly standing up to the Russian onslaught. Videos of assaults on Russian tanks or positions are posted daily on social media. Artists are creating patriotic posters, billboards and T-shirts. The postal service even released stamps commemorating the sinking of a Russian warship in the Black Sea.
Ukrainian forces have succeeded in thwarting Russian efforts to seize Kyiv and Kharkiv and have scored battlefield victories in the east. But the experience of Lapko and his group of volunteers offers a rare and more realistic portrait of the conflict and Ukraine’s struggle to halt the Russian advance in parts of Donbas. Ukraine, like Russia, has provided scant information about deaths, injuries or losses of military equipment. But after three months of war, this company of 120 men is down to 54 because of deaths, injuries and desertions.
That’s a greater than 50% casualty rate. 55%, to be precise. In contrast, I’ve heard that Stalingrad was something like 41% for the Germans. So it is officially worse than WW2 levels of casualties from these poor men. And making it even worse is that they were a volunteer unit that expected something more reasonable.
The volunteers were civilians before Russia invaded on Feb. 24, and they never expected to be dispatched to one of the most dangerous front lines in eastern Ukraine. They quickly found themselves in the crosshairs of war, feeling abandoned by their military superiors and struggling to survive.
“Our command takes no responsibility,” Lapko said. “They only take credit for our achievements. They give us no support.”
When they could take it no longer, Lapko and his top lieutenant, Vitaliy Khrus, retreated with members of their company this week to a hotel away from the front. There, both men spoke to The Washington Post on the record, knowing they could face a court-martial and time in military prison.
This is the reality of the situation in Ukraine. The Russian military has turned this into a war mostly of artillery, and they are massively better supplied. As a result, the Ukrainian Infantry basically have to hide in their little holes and wait for their deaths, whether that comes from starvation or shrapnel. It’s a terrible way to die, which is why these guys don’t actually give a shit about being court-martialed, and are willing to use their own names to get this message out.
“War breaks people down,” said Serhiy Haidai, head of the regional war administration in Luhansk province, acknowledging many volunteers were not properly trained because Ukrainian authorities did not expect Russia to invade. But he maintained that all soldiers are taken care of: “They have enough medical supplies and food. The only thing is there are people that aren’t ready to fight.”
But Lapko and Khrus’s concerns were echoed recently by a platoon of the 115th Brigade 3rd Battalion, based nearby in the besieged city of Severodonetsk. In a video uploaded to Telegram on May 24, and confirmed as authentic by an aide to Haidai, volunteers said they will no longer fight because they lacked proper weapons, rear support and military leadership.
“We are being sent to certain death,” said a volunteer, reading from a prepared script, adding that a similar video was filmed by members of the 115th Brigade 1st Battalion. “We are not alone like this, we are many.”
And they’re not wrong. You’ll notice that these are volunteers that we’re talking about. And they are all complaining of being viewed as completely expendable, with no support from Kiev forthcoming.
Ukraine’s military rebutted the volunteers’ claims in their own video posted online, saying the “deserters” had everything they needed to fight: “They thought they came for a vacation,” one service member said. “That’s why they left their positions.”
Hours after The Post interviewed Lapko and Khrus, members of Ukraine’s military security service arrived at their hotel and detained some of their men, accusing them of desertion.
The men contend that they were the ones who were deserted.
And like I said, these men are so sick of being put out to pasture that they’re willing to get arrested and thrown in prison just to get the story out. That’s how much they hate the Zelensky regime, and their commanding officers.
Waiting to die
Before the invasion, Lapko was a driller of oil and gas wells. Khrus bought and sold power tools. Both lived in the western city of Uzhhorod and joined the territorial defense forces, a civilian militia that sprang up after the invasion.
Lapko, built like a wrestler, was made a company commander in the 5th Separate Rifle Battalion, in charge of 120 men. The similarly burly Khrus became a platoon commander under Lapko. All of their comrades were from western Ukraine. They were handed AK-47 rifles and given training that lasted less than a half-hour.
“We shot 30 bullets and then they said, ‘You can’t get more; too expensive,’ ” Lapko said.
I have never undergone any military training whatsoever, but even I have more training than these guys. They shot thirty bullets from an AK, and that was it? That’s the state of Zelensky’s military, they’re counting the bullets one by one, and this was before the war even started.
I would be shocked if 3,000 bullets were enough to truly train a soldier on how to use his gun, and I’m pretty sure there’s a whole lot more to it than that, like the basic fitness required to lug around all the gear, and operating other machinery and tools. But no, they shoot one clip and that’s good. Take this rifle and go sit in a hole awaiting your inevitable death as you accomplish nothing more than barely prolonging the inevitable.
When the volunteers first arrived, their rotations in and out of Toshkivka lasted three or four days. As the war intensified, they stayed for a week minimum, sometimes two. “Food gets delivered every day except for when there are shellings or the situation is bad,” Khrus said.
And in recent weeks, he said, the situation has gotten much worse. When their supply chains were cut off for two days by the bombardment, the men were forced to make do with a potato a day.
They spend most days and nights in trenches dug into the forest on the edges of Toshkivka or inside the basements of abandoned houses. “They have no water, nothing there,” Lapko said. “Only water that I bring them every other day.”
It’s a miracle the Russians haven’t pushed through their defensive line in Toshkivka, Khrus said as Lapko nodded. Besides their rifles and hand grenades, the only weapons they were given were a handful of rocket-propelled grenades to counter the well-equipped Russian forces. And no one showed Lapko’s men how to use the RPGs.
“We had no proper training,” Lapko said.
“It’s around four RPGs for 15 men,” Khrus said, shaking his head.
The Russians, he said, are deploying tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, Grad rockets and other forms of artillery — when they try to penetrate the forest with ground troops or infantry vehicles, they can easily get close enough “to kill.”
Well I could continue, but I’m sure you get the point.
The casualties here are largely kept secret to protect morale among troops and the general public.
“On Ukrainian TV we see that there are no losses,” Lapko said. “There’s no truth.”
Zelensky is not losing in Ukraine, he has lost in Ukraine. This has been inevitable since close to Day 1 of the war, but it’s certainly inevitable now. When mainstream propaganda sites like the Washington Post are running these kinds of stories, it’s because they’re trying to ease the catlady NPC faction into accepting the crushing defeat of NATO on the World’s stage.