This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"Operation Unifier"

"I was very concerned initially about them coming right off the front lines and having no rest, but they are very motivated and very eager."
"In a lot of cases they have not been home or had a lot of leave. So we were mindful of that when we developed the training. We didn't want them to come right off of the front line into raw, intensive training. We are still squeezing a lot into 55 days."
"They are facing a high-intensity, hybrid warfare where they are up against modern armour and artillery. In a lot of cases, it has been invaluable for [Canada] because we are finding areas where maybe we could improve our own techniques. The security environment is constantly changing and this in fact gives us operational knowledge that we otherwise wouldn't be getting."
"We have to acknowledge that the [Canadian] Afghan experience is very different from what they are experiencing right now. What we were facing was lower intensity, we were not facing tanks and artillery. This is a totally different conflict, and culturally totally different, but there are similarities to be drawn on the level of a post-Soviet military undergoing a rapid mobilization."
Canadian Maj.Benjamin Rogerson, commanding officer, Charles Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, Ukraine

"Our platoons and our companies are formed of veterans of the front lines who have been in the military for some time, and also some replacement soldiers that have had only six weeks of training."
"The six-week guys, who just get to the front lines and are suddenly under artillery fire, they lost coordination and don't know what to do. Some even try to run away."
"Most likely that happens because they never got sufficient training, and never understood the need for teamwork and operating as a team."
"The majority of our soldiers simply don't know what to do. I know a soldier who died simply from bleeding out because no one applied a tourniquet. Our army's approach to medical training is minimal. We usually just get tensor bandages, a couple of Band-Aids and some basic painkillers. The training Canada has delivered is top of the line."
Pvt.Ivan Derlyuk, Lviv, Ukraine military
Artist: Richard Johnson, Postmedia

"The separatists have an infrared capability, minefields and heavy artillery. Formations that the Canadians have taught us may work in the open for them, but don't work in this conflict."
"Mostly all of the guys have never received training of this calibre and this may be the reason why some of them have not survived. If our new guys got taught even basic soldier skills, it would benefit survivability on the battlefield."
"Through this training we have learned to work as one cohesive unit, and that gives us united strength."
Oleg Sharapa, former engineer, volunteer soldier, Ukraine

Canada has committed to help train the Ukrainian military to standards used in today's conflicts with their updated modern technology, all formidable weapons of war totally unfamiliar to the ill-equipped and poorly trained Ukrainian military in this era of eastern Europe free from the vassal status they had experienced under the thumb of the Soviet Union. The Canadian program covers marksmanship, light machine gun teamwork, infantry manoeuvring tactics, urban operations, sniping and counter-sniping, tactical medicine and explosive ordnance and improvised explosive device disposal.

The provision of $16-million-worth of non-lethal military equipment comprised of helmets, ballistic eyewear, protective vests, tents, sleeping bags, mobile field hospital and tactical medical kits comprise a portion of the $700 million that Canada has devoted to Ukrainian assistance in battling the ethnic-Russian Ukrainian revolt in eastern Ukraine. There are events where the training as it is presented has been inappropriate to particular operations. And when those circumstances prevail, both the Canadian trainers and their pupils are on a learning trajectory.

Such as one that occurred near Mariupol, which Russia has obvious plans to capture into its territory much as it did the Crimean Peninsula, seen as a vital land link between the Russian border and Crimea. There the Ukrainian military advanced in nine tanks, and 80 soldiers fanned out, part of a mechanized offensive on the front lines. And, as Oleg Sharapa describes it, "Only one tank crew and ten soldiers survived." They were clearly not prepared to meet the challenge as it was presented on that particular battlefield.

The "ceasefire" in eastern Ukraine has succumbed to the kind of reality where multiple daily exchanges of artillery, mortar and rocket fire, along with sniping attacks and skirmishes with grenade launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms take place. Each side lays claim to respecting the ceasefire, while blaming the other for breaking the illusory ceasefire. "At times morale does drop, especially when everyone awaits the next mortar attack or artillery", explained Private Derlyuk.

Russian-backed fighters had conducted no fewer than 36 attacks in the course of a single day in November. Which didn't stop the Donetsk People's Republic from insisting that it was Ukrainian forces that had violated the ceasefire sixteen times. "A ceasefire merely means a period of re-grouping and reconsolidating forces and re-supplying separatist positions. It's a vicious, never-ending cycle", said Private Derlyuk.

"In order for us to fix this, we must go on the offensive. And from history we know, don't make any deals with Russian politicians. Anything you sign doesn't mean anything to them. They will never keep their word", he concluded.
Artist: Richard Johnson, Postmedia

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