By Robert van Voren
Yesterday’s long awaited and seriously delayed army intervention can best be described as a day of humiliation. As if the Ukrainian people and its army needed anything like this.
What happened yesterday? The anti-terror law backfired spectacularly. The wrong legal framework, the wrong material and operational plans that were known to the Russian command even before it reached the Ukrainian soldiers finished the Ukrainian army off. A slow moving Ukrainian army equipped with tracked APC’s slowly moved as if they were on their way to conquer a field rather than a city. As shown on Western media, a well in advance positioned single truck blocked the road, forcing them on a dirt road where a dozen demonstrators subsequently forced them into a field and the mud. And that stopped the Ukrainian army: confused soldiers had no idea how to handle a dozen demonstrators.
Whoever thought out this battle plan and whoever approved it should be fired immediately. It is hard not to think that this was done by purpose just to sabotage the effort.
So what needs to change? The state of emergency needs to be declared in the whole Donbas area. The lame excuse that it would stop elections, is nonsensical as candidates cannot campaign in this area anyway. It grants the soldiers police rights and they can arrest the demonstrators that block their advance. All 20 of them!
The Ukrainian army needs to discontinue using these slow moving gas gurgling tracked APC’s, with soldiers sitting on top completely exposed, and switch to much faster moving regular army trucks and jeeps. An army unit should be at least 250 men composed of some jeeps, a modern bulldozer or tractor and 20 trucks. Each truck should hold not more than 12 soldiers and they should be supplied with anti-armor weapons.
They should be allowed to engage any obstacle, to set on fire and/or push off the road. Any anti army demonstrator should be arrested on the spot, handcuffed and taken along with the soldiers. Let them share the risk with the soldiers!
The current central USSR-style command style, which seems to inform the Russians first, needs to be decentralized and the field commanders should get total freedom to roam and patrol the Donbas area and to engage whoever is hostile to the legitimate army on patrol. Unlike yesterday the moves of the army will not be anticipated and you actually will be able to get into contact with the enemy. Also, only send in units that publicly declare that they are ready to fight anything that stops them during their legitimate patrols.
If the army starts patrolling the streets again, it will encourage the silent majority that supports this army to come out and to offer their support, just like they did when demonstrators came out to the streets on Maidan. Now people are scared and do not feel any support or defense coming from Kyiv.
Get your army on the road and into the public and fight those that are out to destroy your state. If not, you might as well shorten the pain for all by simply negotiating with “benevolent papa Putin” what part of Ukraine he’s willing to let you have, if any.
This does not have to take long: you can form these units in a day and whoever commands them will have to present quick results in order to be allowed to continue commanding them. In a few weeks you will have cleaned out both your command and the Donbas of hostile elements.
Good luck. It is your last chance for a united Ukraine!
Reblogged this on Voices of Ukraine.
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History has shown that when truth and justice are up against overwhelming and ruthless force then there is only one option that has any chance of working. This one option is not in the current Russian regime’s careful calculations nor in the West’s arsenal. It is something that Ukranians (primarily in the West) have already used successfully in Maidan. It is what Ghandi used against the British Empire, what Mandela used from his prison cell and what Martin Luther King used against white racists in America.
All of Ukraine is Maidan, the play has not changed; the stage has gotten bigger.
If you really believe that all Ukranians of whatever ethnicity have a better future in a united Ukraine that is truly independent of all foreign machinations then I suggest that you put on white and get as close to the trouble spots as you can by whatever transport you can and then humbly walk into those cities. Gather at the outskirts the night before and when the sun rises on Easter walk in among those who fear you to show that they have nothing to fear. Bring guitars; hell push a piano along (but don’t bring a drum unless you can do a mean jazz riff otherwise may sound like gunfire). Bring food, bring the kids and grandma and the family cat. Pin your gazprom bill to your shirt. Get those gals who won gold in Sochi to lead the way.
You need to do something enmasse that will speak more powerfully than the propaganda that plays so easily to fear. Action is louder than words. Approaching people who are angry and afraid with tanks is going to end badly; but approaching them wearing a white shirt, a plate of cookies and a smile has some chance of reaching across the divide.
The more of you who march the greater the chance of success. Like in Maidan some of you will die and some will be horribly wounded and it may go the way of Tianamen square or it may go the way of the People Power that threw out the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines.
If there is a role for the Ukranian military it is to play a support role for the masses of marchers. It is no accident that the Ukranian military is not on a sufficient footing to ward off the current challenge. Ukranine’s greatest weapon is not the military but rather the spirit of her people who no longer want to do what they have always done so as to get what they have always gotten.
The West cannot deliver the Ukraine from oppression. The Russian Federation cannot restore Ukraine’s national dignity by deciding not to press its overwhelming advantage. Only Ukranians can give Ukraine a moment of glory that future generations and other nations can point to and say “There they were, on the ropes, no real military options, no real chance of outside help; caught between suicidal valor or sulking retreat. Then they put on white, they biked, piled in buses, cars and trucks, loaded down with food in baskets, then they waited for the sun to rise and walked East . Some were screamed at, some were spat at, some were beaten, some were killed; but they kept walking, singing, knocking on doors, gathering in parks and on street corners and in front of churches. Eventually the white shirts looked less ridiculous than the military uniforms. Eventually the propaganda seemed not to be as trusted as the hand stretched out in firendship.
This will take formidable courage but the occasion requires nothing less. This is the one scenario that has not been anticipated by the major powers studying the chess board. People back down when faced with overwhelming force, they are like sheep that can be herded or like dogs that can be goaded into a futile fight. People want to help so long as it is not too great an inconvenience or too expensive. These are the assumptions underpinning the oppressor’s strategy. A peaceful mass march to the East will prove them wrong and even if ultimately unsuccessful; will do more to enshrine the honor of Ukraine among the great noble peoples of the world than any desparate military action. No matter what her borders end up being, the Ukraine of the future will build on this Great Unification March and in that spirit create a society that her neighbors will envy and wish to be part of.
Believe in Maidan and what happened there. Ukraine is Maidan, the snipers on the roof tops are the 40,000 combat ready troops on the Eastern frontier. Weapons are a distraction. The real power resides in individuals willing to put their bodies in the crosshairs of a sniper and go to the square anyway.
Take Maidan East, dispel the lies about Maidan by living out its spirit on the very doorsteps of those most tempted to believe those lies.
Ukraine has suffered so long and can surely suffer some more but one day a guy in Tunisia had enough suffering and literally ignited a movement that changed the whole Arab world.
It all comes down to how badly do you want it ? Do you want it badly enough to NOT hide behind a hopelessly outmatched military ? Do you want it badly enough NOT to wait an eternity for some anemic response from the West ? Do you believe in yourself enough to believe in your fellow Ukranian ?