Was there really no army in Ukraine in 2014, and volunteers liberated Donbas?

Author : Viktor Shydlyukh

Source : 112 Ukraine

The political forces, which have been trying to discredit the Armed Forces of Ukraine for several years, claiming that there was no army in Ukraine in 2014, and cities in the east were being liberated by volunteers from political forces, who went to the front
08:04, 25 July 2018

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After the TV show with the participation of the Right Sector leader appeared on one of the channels, a scandal broke out in the information space. As a representative of the General Staff, I was accused of denying the existence of volunteers. In fact, I have never denied the fact of participation and the merit of voluntary formations in the war. I categorically deny the claim that their role was decisive, whereas the Armed Forces were helpless: say, if volunteers didn’t help us, we couldn’t do nothing at all.

  The conflict, which is fueled by some political forcesthat expose the professional Ukrainian army helpless and incapable of acting, and call the military formations created with the participation of these forces decisive in the war with Russia, has been smoldering for several years already. All these years they are trying to discredit the Ukrainian army in the media and in the trenches - they say, if only the Armed Forces did not interfere with them, they would have solved everything here long ago. They are trying to appropriate victories that would have been impossible without the professional actions of the fighters of the Armed Forces, without the participation of artillery, tanks, aviation, with the help of which the Ukrainian cities in the east were liberated. Moreover, they are trying to expose themselves as the only volunteers in the whole Ukraine and deny the existence of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who first came to the army. In fact, the entire army is staffed on a voluntary basis. I am a regular officer of the Ukrainian army, I am a volunteer, because I made my voluntary choice to serve the Motherland as early as 18 years. The contract service is voluntary. As part of the Armed Forces, battalions are serving, which are manned from the Maidan members, self-organizing units that proceed to the Armed Forces. It is practically in all divisions - armed formations, which are financed by the state, and not party leaders. The army cooperated with all military formations and was always open for of true patriots joining the ranks. Consequently, there is no reason to oppose one volunteer to the rest, arguing that there are also special, more heroic and patriotic volunteers.

Last week, after TV air with the participation of Right Sector leader Andriy Tarasenko on one of the Ukrainian TV channels on this topic, a scandal broke out in the public arena. After assembling a video of the show, in which they even rearranged the pieces, the Right Sector spread the lie that "the representative of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces did not notice the volunteers in the Russian-Ukrainian war." Everything was presented as if on the air of the program I called the front-line volunteers "mythical". Like their merits, I allegedly said, in particular in the hot military phase of 2014, caused deep concerns in the staff officer ... The topic was picked up by People's Deputy Igor Lutsenko, who wrote on the page in Facebook that "Victor Shidliukh, as a representative of the General Staff / Defense Ministry, spreads deliberately false information - that no one, except the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, has stopped Russian aggression. " He called on Stepan Poltorak, Minister of Defense, to bring his subordinate to disciplinary responsibility for spreading deliberately false information.

In fact, I am trying to convey the idea that no one denies the participation and merit of other formations in the hot phase of the war, but I am categorically against the false assertion that they played a decisive role when the Supreme Armed Forces were sitting behind their backs. I want to remind you that the first armed resistance to the invader in the east was given by the fighters of the 80th separate airmobile regiment. April 3, 2014 the first battle took place, in which, after the start of the anti-terrorist operation, Ukrainian soldiers repulsed the attack of the Russian sabotage group of the FSB colonel Igor Girkin. The fight was commanded by Senior Lieutenant Vadym Sukharevsky.


The units of the SBU and the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the ground could not prevent the obstruction of hostile local population to the columns of the Armed Forces, as it was planned. The actions of units of Russian special operations forces, which created and armed illegal armed groups of terrorist orientation in the territory of Ukraine from among the local population and Russian "volunteers" were also not prevented. It was the units of the Armed Forces that occupied the defense lines to repel the invasion from the side of the occupied Crimea and from the east and created a ring of encirclement around the area of action of terrorists and saboteurs. The enemy captured the most densely populated areas of Ukraine behind the backs of civilians. Liberation of these areas was assigned to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The repulse of armed aggression was assigned to Armed forces. It was the officers and generals of the General Staff who were immediately compelled to assume the leading role in the antiterrorist operation and began the strategic deployment of troops (forces) to repel armed aggression. The armed forces of Ukraine in peacetime are in a reduced composition. Otherwise, their content in full force is excessively burdensome for the country. Therefore, it is natural and legal that they demanded completing. Plus we were significantly weakened by the previous leadership. If it was so easy to prevent it, then Maidan was not needed.

The formations, which now, as some politicians claim, played a decisive role in those events, were at least too few. "On the valleys and peaks a regiment was riding in one car": calling themselves battalions, even corps ... some of them actually fit into one truck. Is it possible to talk about their decisive role in the war? No! I was in the war in 2014-2017 and I know what really happened. In 2014, as deputy head of the sector, I knew well who was on the defensive. I will say – we were fighting all together. The situation was often saved only by military from Ukrainian army. The commanders of some volunteer formations laid down so many human lives with their unprofessionalism, and then started shouting "save us!" and we saved them. We had cases when units that were not part of the Armed Forces left positions, creating holes in the defense. They escaped, and now they talk so eagerly about how the military escaped from the enemy. There were such cases in the army, but in volunteer formations we saw much more similar cases. After all, they are not responsible, unlike the regular military.

However, now some civil politicians say that they conducted reconnaissance in Donbas. Well, if only they talked about their mythical achievements, but it's terrible that they deny the existence and role of the Armed Forces in 2014 in general ... It's terrible that they disperse the myth that there are some bad patriots in the Supreme Council of Ukraine.

After accusing me that I deny the volunteer army, I wrote to the leader of the Right Sector who started the whole information campaign, Andriy Tarasenko. The army has never fought against volunteers, on the contrary, we call on volunteers for contract service. By the way, Tarasenko answered me - we invite you to us, you will fight with us against the criminal authority. I have a question: did he choose the wrong direction? The political struggle is in the opposite direction from the front line.

It's a shame, but the actions of politicians to discredit and humiliate the Armed Forces have serious consequences. In particular, this concerns the issue of the motivation of young people to serve on a contract basic, on a fairly small salary. Who will go to serve in the ranks of the army, in which there is nothing to be proud of, which is unworthy of respect? Such actions are profitable just for the Kremlin.

However, I cannot but rejoice that this quiet confrontation that has smoldered all these years, which existed in the form of relentless political lies, exploded now, just in this form. It would be much worse if it exploded in the form of a refusal to mobilize, or worse, if those units of the Right-wing sector, which are now in the Donbas conflict zone and not under the control of the army, deployed weapons against their own people...

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