In the News
News and Views on Current Developments in Ukraine
Western Media’s Distorted Information on Capabilities of Ukrainian Armed Forces
Only months before the Russian special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine began, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology was regularly polling Ukrainians countrywide, to see how the people were responding to the war hysteria. Results of polling in December, January and even in February 2022, just days before the outbreak of full conflict, were essentially the same. Fully 63 percent of respondents country-wide when asked, said they would not take up arms to fight if Russia invaded. Closer to Donetsk and Lugansk, 70 percent said they would not take up arms.
Meanwhile, reports by western media and sources from Ukraine about the ability of Ukrainian armed forces to prevail are unreliable, intended to disinform and mobilize public opinion for the U.S./NATO agenda of war with Russia. For all the love the ministers of the Trudeau government are expressing for the Ukranian people, they are sending them to die in the name of the greater glory and this is criminal activity.
Close to half the total Armed Forces of Ukraine and likely the majority of its combat ready forces, well fortified with tanks and heavy artillery on the front line, are said to be dug in at the line of contact, a stretch of land separating areas under the control of the Ukrainian government from those not under its control in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have an estimated 12 to 15 brigades totalling 75,000-120,000 troops there. The neo-Nazi militias such as Azov Battalion and Right Sector forces, the most battle hardened and fanatic of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, are there as well.
These forces along the line of contact are on the verge of being encircled with people’s militias to their front and the advancing Russian armed forces on their rear. A report by NATO’s Atlantic Council on December 23, 2021 says that the only serious asset of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are “fortifications on the line of contact, which now represent over 400 kilometres of complex engineering structures in various terrains” and that “a strong second line of defence has also been built.” Those are the fortifications which the Russian forces and people’s militias are encircling.
Once the Ukrainian forces are encircled, given Russian air superiority and precision missile capability, the actual de-militarization of Ukraine will be underway, either by means of a negotiated settlement, a surrender of Ukrainian troops and hardware or a crushing military defeat.
Besides that, monopoly media reports in the U.S. and Canada inflate the viability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Al Jazeera for example recently reported Ukraine has 2,596 tanks, 12,303 armoured vehicles, 34 attack helicopters, 2,040 artillery, 98 fighter/attack aircraft, and 209,000 active military personnel. It sounds like a formidable force but others say Ukraine has 800 tanks. Why such a discrepency? In part because much of the military hardware Ukraine has on the books is outdated and not even operational or serviced.
Western press recently blamed Russia for a missile strike on an apartment complex in Kyiv which was in fact struck by a Ukrainian missile which mis-fired because it was outdated and un-serviced. These weapons are being placed by Ukrainian forces in the residential housing complexes to accuse Russia of targeting civilians. But this is not what Russia is doing. It is not targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure.
NATO’s Atlantic Council report issued in December cites a Ukrainian government owned defence industry rife with corruption — euphemistically called “institutional weakness.” It also notes that much of its productive capacity was located in Donetsk and Lugansk and was lost to them when Crimea voted to join Russia and the Peoples’ Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were founded.
Another report entitled Seven Years of Deadlock: Why Ukraine’s Military Reforms have Gone Nowhere, published by The Jamestown Foundation in July 2021, said the Ukrainian armed forces are short of ammunition on the front line. Their artillery is outdated, under serviced and with unreliable ammunition. Military medical is dysfunctional, they said. The report described food, fuel, logistic, technology, equipment and ammunition resupply as completely dysfunctional. The report set the number of Armed Forces of Ukraine, officially 250,000 strong, at more like 130,000 or maybe less that are an actual trained fighting force. Have all the arms, munitions and supplies sent by the NATO countries including Canada changed this situation?
The Jamestown Foundation describes itself as a Washington, D.C.-based conservative defence policy think tank. Founded in 1984 as a platform to support Soviet defectors, its stated mission today is to inform and educate policy makers about events and trends, which it regards as being of current strategic importance to the United States.
The Foundation says that since the end of the 2014-2015 war, Ukraine has “lost” 210,000 thousand tons of ammunition. The enormity of thefts which take place becomes clear when compared to the 70,000 tons actually fired in the 2014-2015 war. Eighteen explosions of ammunition and vehicle depots have also been reported in Ukraine since 2014. The “explosions” actually serve to cover up outright theft and illicit weapons trade. It has been widely reported that much of the weapons and ammunition that turned up in the hands of terrorist groups in Syria came from Ukraine.
The Jamestown Foundation says hardly any of these losses have been replaced.
This might explain that while the U.S. has provided more than $2 billion to Ukraine since the 2014-2015 war, the Jamestown Foundation says it “has not had any noticeable, let alone quantifiable, return on investment.” Since that report was written, the U.S. has provided another $1 billion in military hardware and ammunition to Ukraine: $60 million military aid in the fall of 2021; another $200 million in December; and another $350 million announced on February 26. That too is not likely to have made any significant difference given the high level of corruption, arms trading, fighting between rival gangs and the like.
While the U.S., Canada and other NATO training missions have been stepped up in recent years, the Jamestown Foundation report found these efforts relatively ineffective. They take no responsibility for what is taking place in Ukraine but slander the Ukrainian people by blaming them for corruption and inefficiency.
The Jamestown Foundation concludes that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are outdated and totally unmodernized, “completely short of ammunition and frontline troops are at high risk of operational failure.” The report gives two examples — one related to modern communications equipment and another to high tech Javelin anti-tank missiles — which shows that flooding the country with more weapons and ammunition will not rescue the U.S./NATO in Ukraine.
The U.S. provided Harris combat radios, but in the Ukrainian army individual soldiers are financially liable for damage or loss. As a result, they remain largely unused. Soldiers rely on their cell phones for communications.
The U.S. also delivered Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine but they are stored near Kyiv, 750 km from the front lines, for fear they would fall into the hands of the people’s militias. Distorted information provided by western media and governments about the fighting power of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is to mobilize public opinion for the U.S./NATO agenda. Given that the U.S. is well aware of all the problems and that the Ukrainian “frontline troops are at high risk of operational failure,” their provocations, huge deployments and refusal to state Ukraine would not be admitted to NATO have made for a humanitarian disaster for the people of Ukraine, with refugees only one aspect.
On Monday March 1, four days into their special operation to demilitarize Ukraine so that it cannot be used to pose a danger to Russia, the Russian Defense Ministry reported: “The Russian Armed Forces have hit 1,325 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities, including 43 command and communications centers of the Ukrainian army.” Long-range precision strikes via naval-and air-based cruise missiles on Ukrainian military infrastructure destroyed 14 military airstrips, 48 radar stations and 24 Ukrainian S-300 and Osa missile air defense systems. As many as 395 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 59 multiple rocket launchers, 179 artillery guns and mortars, 286 special military motor vehicles, 38 Ukrainian air force planes ,7 helicopters, 9 drones and 8 Ukrainian navy patrol boats have been destroyed. Russia reports complete control of Ukrainian air space.
(TML Daily, posted March 3, 2022)