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Kiev government underreporting Ukrainian Army casualties by dozens of percent - opinion

September 24, 2014, 20:30 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, September 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian authorities issued an official notification on Tuesday saying the bodies of over a thousand soldiers, who had died in the course of the so-called antiterrorist operation in eastern Ukraine, were stored at morgues in the four regions adjoining the zone of combat operations.

“A thousand bodies in the morgues is just the top of an iceberg and the actual casualties suffered by the Ukrainian Army, the National Guard and the volunteer battalions exceed the figure many times over,” Doctor of Military Sciences, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems Konstantin Sivkov told ITAR-TASS in a reaction to the report.

“The figure of 864 soldiers in dead, which the Kiev government made public on September 7, is an instance of underreporting by dozens of percent and it doesn’t hold water,” he said.

“Recommendations have been circulated to bury the bodies of dead soldiers clandestinely in unidentified burial sites, and to inform their family members, brothers, husbands, and sons that they are missing in action or have defected to the enemy,” Dr. Sivkov said.

“A government hushing up the huge size of losses among the military and civilians in order to suit its petty ambitions dooms itself to a collapse,” he said.

“Had the Ukrainian Armed Forces indeed lost 864 servicemen in the country’s east, the authorities in Kiev wouldn’t have had to organize three drafts to the army and to give the trainees a course on subversive and guerilla activities over a period of just seven days,” Dr. Sivkov said.

“The main cause behind the heavy losses suffered by the armed units reporting to Kiev is the servicemen’s reluctance to fight against their fellow-countrymen,” he said. “It’s not accidental that the Right Sector paramilitaries and the battalions financed by the Dniepropetrovsk region Governor, Igor Kolomoisky, resorted to the World War II tactics of placing retreat-blocking detachments behind the combat lines to as to prevent the regular Army soldiers’ exodus from the battlefield.”

“Facts are known that speak of shelling of Ukrainian Army units by the Right Sector radicals,” Dr. Sivkov said. “Two infantry combat vehicles were gunned down in the area of encirclement of the Dniepropetrovsk 93rd Brigade as the servicemen were trying to surrender.”

“Fighters of the Donetsk and Lugansk self-defence forces have displayed moral and psychological superiority over the forces defending the Ukrainian government,” he said. “For instance, on July 25 they destroyed a column of three armored personnel carriers, a tank and several Ural army trucks. There were 120 to 130 Ukrainian servicemen in the column.”

“Demoralization in the ranks of the Ukrainian army has resulted in the entrapping of regular armed units in the so-called “pots”. Analysis exposes an astounding number of these “pots” in a rather limited territory - something not seen in the history of wars to date.”

“Along with it, the Ukrainian Armed Forces proved unable to respond to the self-defence forces with a least a single operation of the same type.”

“It would be natural to expect that the Ukrainian army strategists would take measures towards unblocking their forces once they had driven their units into encirclement but the conflict in eastern Ukraine doesn’t offer any instances of successful unblocking,” Dr. Sivkov said.

“The besieged servicemen had either to die or to surrender or to break out of encirclement on their own but in all the situations they lost combat vehicles that either were destroyed or fell into the hands of Novorossia’s army fighters as war spoils,” he said.

“Throughout the antiterrorist operation Ukrainian Army commanders have been showing an apparent operational ignorance. The hardware of the troops reporting to them was either in a dysfunctional condition or was used inefficiently. Gunfire was delivered at the residential areas in Donetsk, Lugansk and other areas, or else the combat units were left without shells when the self-defence units launched retaliatory attacks.”

“The use of aviation by the antiterrorist operation forces didn’t take account of the tactical setup,” Dr. Sivkov said adding that the sorties were made without proper reconnaissance of battle zones or destruction targets. “Strikes were mostly delivered by pairs of jets or singular jets, without any clear coordination of activity with grounds forces.”

He noted the result of this mess huge losses and almost nonexistent efficiency. On some occasions, the Ukrainian Air Force jets bombed friendly troops.

“One can treat Ukraine’s warring sides differently but facts louder than words - the incumbent political and military leadership in Kiev is unable to govern a country like Ukraine either in the sense of its intellectual potential or the level of education or moral foundations,” Dr. Sivkov said.


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