Ukraine demotes commander who gave interview about ill-trained troops


KYIV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian battalion commander who gave an interview to The Washington Post describing how ill-trained troops have been weakening Ukraine’s place on the battlefield stop his submit this week, after his superiors demoted him due to his remarks, he mentioned.

The commander, a lieutenant colonel who goes by the decision signal Kupol, served within the forty sixth Air Assault Brigade. He declined to supply additional particulars or to grant one other interview.

He mentioned that he determined to talk out, regardless of the dangers, hoping the United States would guarantee higher coaching for Ukrainian troopers, together with some who’ve gone into battle with out understanding the best way to throw a grenade or deal with their weapons. Some deserted their positions whereas underneath Russian hearth, he mentioned within the interview.

Ukrainian army and authorities officers didn’t instantly reply on Thursday night to request from The Post for touch upon Kupol’s standing.

But a spokesman for the Airborne Assault Forces, Valentyn Shevchenko, confirmed to the Ukrainska Pravda information website that Kupol had been faraway from his battalion command and reassigned to a coaching heart. Shevchenko mentioned that Kupol didn’t have permission from his commander, as required, to talk to the press, and that he had exaggerated his unit’s losses, in addition to the poor stage of coaching of substitute troops.

Kupol’s punishment has spurred outrage amongst some in Ukraine, who mentioned his feedback mirrored a needed fact that Ukrainian leaders are unwilling to listen to.

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Ukraine wanting expert troops and munitions as losses, pessimism develop

Kupol voiced his issues as Russian and Ukrainian forces are locked in a grinding artillery conflict with neither facet seemingly sturdy sufficient to make critical territorial good points. Russian leaders are insisting that their conflict goals, together with the seizure of 4 southeast Ukrainian areas, will probably be achieved. Ukraine is getting ready for what many analysts count on will probably be a spring counteroffensive that may require vital manpower and ammunition to push Russian forces out of territory they management.

Kupol and different army personnel have warned that job will probably be extraordinarily tough with so a lot of Ukraine’s most skilled fighters now wounded or killed. Ukraine retains its casualties secret however U.S. and European officers have estimated as many as 120,000 lifeless and wounded. Russia is believed to have misplaced about 200,000 however has a a lot bigger inhabitants.

“These are exactly the kind of people we need at the front,” Oleksiy Goncharenko, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, wrote on his Telegram channel about Kupol. “He emphasized in the interview that the soldiers should be trained even better. Of course, the better prepared a warrior is, the better he fights. What is wrong here? I believe that this story should be publicized.”

Another lawmaker, Volodymyr Ariev, wrote on Facebook: “This government wants to hear only what they want.”

Traumatic stress, an invisible wound, hobbles Ukrainian troopers

Yuri Butusov, a outstanding Ukrainian conflict reporter, mentioned that Kupol’s troops are those who will endure from his departure. Butusov expressed hope that Kupol could be reinstated and that the army management could be keen to listen to arduous truths.

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“We have to defeat Russia both on the front and in our minds — and instead of shutting our mouths, we have to start thinking and acting to improve ourselves daily,” Butusov posted on Facebook.

About 100 of the five hundred troops in Kupol’s battalion have been killed during the last yr, and 400 others have been wounded, he mentioned. The mass casualties left him liable for new, inexperienced troops who have been anticipated to deploy instantly regardless of an apparent lack of coaching.

In the interview, Kupol had acknowledged that his remarks might lead to disciplinary measures. “As a patriot of my country, I’m worried about my country. That’s all,” he mentioned.

“Do you know what the problem is with our commanders?” he added. “They have a narrow circle, which does not deliver bad news to them. They filter out the bad news.”

Khurshudyan reported from New York. Serhiy Morgunov in Kyiv contributed to this report.

One yr of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine

Portraits of Ukraine: Every Ukrainian’s life has modified since Russia launched its full-scale invasion one yr in the past — in methods each massive and small. They have realized to outlive and help one another underneath excessive circumstances, in bomb shelters and hospitals, destroyed house complexes and ruined marketplaces. Scroll by way of portraits of Ukrainians reflecting on a yr of loss, resilience and concern.

Battle of attrition: Over the previous yr, the conflict has morphed from a multi-front invasion that included Kyiv within the north to a battle of attrition largely concentrated alongside an expanse of territory within the east and south. Follow the 600-mile entrance line between Ukrainian and Russian forces and check out the place the combating has been concentrated.

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A yr of residing aside: Russia’s invasion, coupled with Ukraine’s martial legislation stopping fighting-age males from leaving the nation, has pressured agonizing selections for thousands and thousands of Ukrainian households about the best way to steadiness security, obligation and love, with once-intertwined lives having turn into unrecognizable. Here’s what a practice station filled with goodbyes appeared like final yr.

Deepening international divides: President Biden has trumpeted the reinvigorated Western alliance cast through the conflict as a “global coalition,” however a better look suggests the world is way from united on points raised by the Ukraine conflict. Evidence abounds that the hassle to isolate Putin has failed and that sanctions haven’t stopped Russia, because of its oil and fuel exports.

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