Australian News

Australian news and media publication


The growing threat of recent weeks has put the Ukrainian government in need of swell their forces. And not just the Army. For seven years, thousands of civilians have joined the Armed Forces or the Voluntary Defense Forces, groups that last year saw the number of volunteers multiply, especially throughout the border with Russia.

“They are resistance corps, they are not on the militia lists, but they have tactical training. They also call them armies in the shadows”, explains the THE NATION Fabian Street, international analyst specializing in security.

Today, both the military and local governments promote the training of civilian bodies that can respond to possible combat. “Territorial defense is becoming a full-fledged part of the Ukrainian army”, he said publicly Fyodor Venislavsky, legislator and member of the parliamentary committee on national defense, security and intelligence.

Since the beginning of this year, the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky He promoted policies to strengthen the lines of defense. “The national resistance law, which entered into force on January 1, 2022, requires that, in addition to the 10,000 career staff members who are currently in the territorial defense, recruit and train other 120,000 civilian reservists with the possibility of extension in the event of a combat,” he explained. Yuri Panchenko, analyst at the Institute for Peace and War.

But who are these civilians?

Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kiev, Ukraine, on January 22, 2022.
Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kiev, Ukraine, on January 22, 2022.Efrem Lukatsky – AP

In the recordings published by the Ukrainian radio station Hromadske International, the uniformed volunteers are shown with wooden weapons marching in the snow or practicing target shooting on cardboard with AK-47 rifles. The videos end with a war cry: “Glory Ukraine!”

Until now, the country has 110,000 active in the territorial defense forces, according to official figures. Most are trained by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but they are not considered soldiers. “The idea is to involve people who live in a city or region to serve in this territory and protect it if necessary,” he told THE NATION Yarema Dukh, former communication officer of the Ukrainian presidency. “They learn different combat tactics, one of them is the guerrilla”, he added.

In addition to military training, recruits must do reconnaissance drills, march through abandoned structures, and “clean buildings.” “You have to know the cities and the alleys,” he told THE NATION Robert Verezubov, a Ukrainian who resides in Argentina and who has ties to the militia.

Some buildings near the Donetsk airport were completely destroyed.
Some buildings near the Donetsk airport were completely destroyed.Getty Images

In Ukraine there is three groups of Territorial Defenses composed of civilians. Two groups have a job full time and the third, would be activated in case of an invasion. “Everyone signs a contract with the army and receives a salary. Some do it voluntarily and others enter through military service which, as needed, would go to territorial defense or to the army”, explained Dukh.

“They have a normal life, they are drivers, small businessmen or teachers. Today I live in Kiev, and I can say that since December last year, both here and in other regions, especially the east, they have more intense wrestling training than before”, he added.

The latter group is known as reservists, that “they are trained by veterans and have their own equipment and weapons, generally old, they live in their homes and until the hour of combat they lead a common life”, counted Verezubov. The government estimates that a just under half of all Territorial Defense belongs to this group.

In Argentina, Verezubov account that a niece of his joined as a volunteer last year in the city of Konotop, in the Ukrainian east. “Every weekend he goes to the surrounding woods to train for six hours a day. His mother is terrified, but she thinks it’s the best way to deal with possible invasions.” dice.

Total number of armed forces that Ukraine has against the number of Russian soldiers on the border.  (Ukrainian Defense Ministry)
Total number of armed forces that Ukraine has against the number of Russian soldiers on the border. (Ukrainian Defense Ministry)

Since 2014, after the Russian accession of Crimea, the Ukrainian government has focused on developing its military. “After what happened in Crimea, Ukraine began to strengthen an intelligence and security link with the United States and the United Kingdom. This includes shipment of weapons, intelligence material and adviceCalle commented.

On the other hand, on the official site of the ukrainian migration service I also know invites foreigners to be part of the recruitment both in the Armed Forces and in civilian bodies. Those who decide to do itwill be considered legal temporary residents in the territory from Ukraine during the period contracted in the Armed Forces or the time of service in the civil guards”.

Shadow armies have been present at different times in history. An example of this was the operation by the sword, a structure that assembled the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the late 1960s throughout Western Europe to deal with the communist insurrection.

“It was a reserve army of people who carried out normal activities and when Washington gave the whistle, they took up arms, had specific targets and had to act against them,” says Calle.

During the time of the Soviet Union, the partisans They were armed civilians who fought against the Fascist Eastern Front since 1941, and managed to stop the Nazi army. And today, “this format was used by the Putin government in 2014 in Donbass,” the academic. “In that 12% of the territory, there are really no Russian army forces, rather they use paramilitary organizations and separatist groups who do the work.” According to figures from the international organization Crisis Group, the clashes in that area already add up to a balance of 14,000 dead.

Soviet partisans during World War II
Soviet partisans during World War IIGetty Images – Universal Images Group Editorial

In the case of an occupation, “the strategy could be functional, since a model of asymmetric or attrition warfare if it is about confronting a force as big as the Russian one,” said Calle. Although the analyst does not believe that the United States delegates much responsibility to these groups.

I do not see the United States or the United Kingdom fully trusting these militias. I think that the logical thing, with a huge army like the Ukrainian one with more than 240,000 troops, is to give them weapons, technology and information. They will want to avoid a tank-on-tank fight. They seek to achieve a capacity not to collide directly with Russia, but to cause great damage or high costs,” said Calle.

Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kiev, Ukraine, on January 22, 2022.
Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kiev, Ukraine, on January 22, 2022.Sean Gallup – Getty Images Europe

The defense minister of Ukraine, Oslekii Renznikov, already warned In dialogue with the BBC: “A lot of Ukrainian blood could flow in the event of an invasion”. “We are not willing to give in,” he added. And for that, they have all the resources.


www.lanacion.com.ar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.