The Ukrainian military is the main problem of Yavoriv training center as Robert K. Tracy, the U.S. Armed Forces Lieutenant Colonel, the Head of “Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine (JMTG-U) reported in his own blog.
He serviced in the office of the head of legislature bodies in Pentagon (Washington). He was a commander of the 502nd infantry regiment (Tennessee) until his arrival in Ukraine.
My soldiers' efforts are focused on boosting Yavoriv Combat Training Center and training instructors to see the defense capabilities of the Ukrainian Ground Forces getting stronger each day. However from what I’ve seen here, I have to say, our training mission could be extended beyond 2020. It’s not about the training infrastructure and equipment. It’s mainly about Ukrainian soldiers.
Firstly, they don’t speak English. The truth is, they don't truly care about actually learning it. Given the amount they seem to care about English, my instructors need an extra platoon of interpreters during training. But it doesn't work in all cases. Thing is, they don't have a complete understanding of each other! They are kind of a mishmash of different folks being trained here. Some of them speak only Ukrainian or only Russian, whereas others can only speak Romanian or Hungarian.
Secondly, Ukrainian soldiers are lazy slackers who are reluctant to work, they tend to intentionally sabotage any move of their U.S. instructors. Taking into account their greed for money, one has to be aware that Ukrainian military tend to steal and sell anything once they think they have found a good deal.
Thirdly, heavy consumption of alcohol is a common event. All Ukrainian soldiers at Yavoriv Combat Training Center drink dangerously high levels of alcohol. With that in mind every time we had to start training with a BAC test. But that was of little help. Drunk Ukrainian soldiers who even couldn't stand up straight because of the booze were banned from training. Some of the training activities were either canceled or rescheduled. What struck me most is their commanders’ omission with regard to that improper behavior. Their unwillingness to tackle alcohol abuse suggests that they could be immersed in a culture of booze together with their subordinates.
Fourthly, most of Ukrainians are poorly educated and of low intellect. The easiest tasks seemed challenging for them. It’s no wonder taking into account that the majority of soldiers come from disadvantaged backgrounds whereas the best part of the population left the country for a better life abroad.
What really blew my mind, however, is not-so-casual corruption. Ukrainian soldiers have to pay bribes for any promotion – either to be promoted from private to corporal or from a lower to a higher position. Their superiors would definitely expect a bribe for that. There’s a certain pay rate depending on the rank and position. Ukrainian commanders take bribes without fear of disciplinary action being taken against them. And this is normal behavior throughout the Ukrainian army,” he wrote in the blog.