I hope this is an interesting contribution.
FortRuss translated an interesting interview with a Ukranian woman politician
Like many Ukranians she is still in denial, but is smart enough to realize her side is awful and doing awful things. Tries to say both sides are equally bad, wich I disagre with. Equidistance is a easy way out. Like other Ukranians she has yet to admit responsibility for the disaster they have created.
The interview is very long and interesting but is mostly politics, society and economy stuff. She says things I don't agree with it, otheres were she is plain wrong and are wishful thinking, and some silly ideas about nationhood and war typical of a woman.
I am only quoting the relevant excerpts about military themes, the situation of the Ukraine home front and morale of Ukranian troops:
=About the change of heart in Ukrainian society:
The attitude in society is changing, even the most brainwashed now understand that there is something wrong with this war. Fewer and fewer people are willing to go volunteer - to die and get eaten by dogs in some encirclement. Fewer and fewer people donate money and food to private organizations supplying the Army. And of course, things like the Military Prosecutor General talking live on air above the police battalions raping and killing people in the warzone does not encourage people to go join <the good fight>. Basically, people that didn't understand it with their brains finally started understanding it through their empty wallets and empty fridges.
Scraping the bottom of the manpower pool
= About future plans of the oligarchs and direction of the country:
I have no idea what the oligarchs think. I don't think they think far - the are just stealing what they can, while they can.
And the people are being conscripted, sixth wave of it already - people being caught literally on the city buses, students are caught in universities... People are running away - I was asked what is the journalist Kotsaba is in jail for - he's there for protesting illegal forced conscription, because he was protesting against the government grabbing all those people, stealing the food they are supposed to get, stealing the ammo and weapons they are supposed to have and selling them to the DPR and LPR... And the people obviously have realized all this by now, and have no desire to die in some encirclement to fill the oligarch's wallets.
So obviously conscription isn’t going very well - people understood that they are being basically used as cattle for slaughter.
This is a continuing mystery. The junta orders mass levies, to the point according to Novorussia intel reports based on captured documents, they are entertaining the possibility of conscripting even 16 year olds.
Yet the intensity of the fighting and the casualties, though high, do not seem to justify such mass conscription. It also doesn't seem the Ukranian army is growing though theoretically they should be able to field an army of hundreds of thousands of troops, and not around 100,000, of wich only 50 thousand are frontline troops in the Donbass.
The Ukranian forces have suffered about 20,000 dead. And perhaps another 20,000 non recoverable casualties, missing, prisoners of war, deserters and crippled. Add another 10,000 veterans that have been discharged after one year of service or others that found a way out. The original force deployed has thus likely suffered 100% casualties, but in theory the Kiev junta could rebuild it with ease and even double or treble it.
It does not make sense to me, comparing with the Spanish Civil War, the Reds didn't start recruiting teenagers and family fathers until the last year of the war, and at war's end, they still fielded almost a million men, with a population (one half of Spain, and constantly shrinking territory) much smaller than Ukraine, even discounting the loss of Donbass and Crimea.
So where are the troops? One possibility too horrible to contemplate is that the casualties are enormous and equalling world war levels. Spanish Civil War attrition rates would be bad enough, but even with those Ukranian could maintain a much larger army. But nothing in the fighting during quiet periods suggests much more than a modest hundred killed and wounded a day, or 3,000 monthly, and even so, many wounded eventually return to the ranks.
I think the key difference is one of demographics. The Spain of the 1930s was an agrarian, developing nation with a young population pyramid, while Ukraine is an aging population with an inverted pyramid. Birth rates plummeted in the 90s due to the Soviet collapse, and a lot of the young men have emigrated. So Ukraine has a potential recruitment base much smaller than its population size would suggest. This would be easy to check finding the relevant population stats and graphs.
Still, the Novorussians have a smaller population, more aged as there are more young people in West Ukraine, and voluntary enlistment and yet they have managed to field an army almost equivalent in size to their enemies, and can't absorb all recruits because they haven't enough weapons for everybody.
So why has not the Ukraine crushed the rebellion by sheer weight of numbers?
1. Ukraine actual manpower resources are much smaller than her population indicates.
2. Conscription only taps a fraction of the available manpower due to mass draft dodging, either by refusing to show up, fleeing to Russia or Europe, or bribes.
3. Ukranian casualties are perhaps even higher than we imagine, as troops are used as expendable cannon fodder.
Last edited by Ispan on Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:48 pm; edited 1 time in total