The View From Here: An Ugly War


Volodymyr Kish.

The ugly Russian war against Ukraine continues in the Donbas. It is not a conventional war of maneuver and movement, of mass attacks by infantry supported by tanks and air power, of paratroopers infiltrating behind enemy lines. It is a war of attrition. It is two sides dug in as well as they can be along static defensive lines, pounding each other with mortars, artillery, rockets and tank fire. It is snipers looking to ambush the unwary soldier who dares poke his head outside the bunker or the trench.

There are frequent assaults, but these are modest probing ones, seeking to find areas of vulnerability, usually with little success. Mostly though, it is a war of attrition on a small scale. I say small deliberately, because neither side seems willing or able to undertake a large-scale attack on the other. The Russians are afraid that if they make a big push, they will suffer the consequence of increased sanctions from NATO and European countries, as well as spurring more direct involvement of the same in directly helping Ukraine. Plus, to mount a large attack with any hope of breaking through, would require considerably more forces than they currently have on the Donbas front, forces that they would have to bring from elsewhere, weakening their already strained military that is stretched over the huge expanse of Russia. Russia has few friends and a lot of potential enemies that would look seriously at exploiting any potential weaknesses that might arise.

Ukraine also does not want to escalate the fighting, realizing that they may have enough military capability to maintain the current stalemate, but likely not enough to contain a full-scale assault by the bulk of the Russian armed forces. Further, their economy is too fragile at the moment to fund a significant increase to their military strength.

So the war of attrition continues with no clear end in sight. And each day young Ukrainians die under the never-ending barrage of Russian shelling. On June 8, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 11 were wounded. On June 12, another two soldiers were killed and 4 wounded. On June 14, 1 was killed and 7 were wounded. Since fighting broke out in the Donbas in March of 2014, more than 3,600 Ukrainian military personnel have been killed, and close to 10,000 have been wounded.

And it is not just soldiers being killed. There are the unfortunate civilians that get caught in the crossfire and suffer the consequences. According to the OSCE monitors, this year some 47 civilians were killed in the Donbas as a result of the fighting, and 222 were wounded. Since the fighting started, it is estimated that more than 2,700 civilians have been killed.

But these are more than just statistics. These are real people with wives, children, families, people with hopes and dreams that will never be realized. Let me put some names and details to these unfortunate victims of an immoral Russian war.

This past June 8, Captain Yevhen Sarnavskiy, a sapper with the 72nd Brigade was killed while attempting to defuse an enemy mine near the village of Novoselivka.

On June 10, Illya Kyrychenko of the 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade from the village of Zhovti Vody, Dnipropetrovsk oblast, was killed during fighting near Krymske, Luhansk Oblast.

Also on June 10, Vitaliy Zvezdohliad of the 59th Separate Mechanized Brigade was killed by a direct mortar shell hit near Pavlopil, Donetsk Oblast. Vitaliy was 25 years old, from the village of Kosenivka, Cherkasy Oblast.

On June 13, Mykola Hayduk of the 43rd Infantry Battalion of the 53 Separate Mechanized Brigade was killed during intense shelling near Luhanske, Donetsk Oblast. He was from Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk oblast and left behind a wife and two sons.

On June 15, Sgt. Serhiy Yaremchuk, from the village of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia oblast was shot and killed during a battle near Mariupol. He leaves behind a wife and daughter.

This all happened in the space of one week, and was typical of what happens every week, and what has been happening for over three years now. Why? Because a psychopathic and delusional ex-KGB officer that now heads the Russian state wants to recreate the supposed “glory” that once was the Soviet Union.

It is time for the leaders of the civilized world to put an end to this ugly war, and stop the senseless bloodletting.