The Ukrainian Paratrooper Union gives Poroshenko a month to clean up the Defense Ministry 



2014/09/23 • War in the Donbas

Paratroop veterans who arrived in the capital from 12 Ukrainian regions demand that the government fire the ATO leadership and stop mobilizing young inexperienced boys.

Having formed a column, the paratroopers marched from Kyiv Pechersk Monastery to the Administration of the President, the Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers. Near every administrative building, the chairman of the Ukrainian Paratrooper Union Serhiy Lisovy read the address and handed it over together with annexes to the representatives of the government.

“We prepared an address to our government with a detailed list of our demands and insist that these demands be examined and satisfied within a month’s time, otherwise we will talk differently,” concluded the head of the Ukrainian Paratrooper Union, colonel Serhiy Lisovy. 

The demands also include cleaning up the Defense Ministry of Ukraine; appropriate organization and holding of dignified funerals for the fallen ATO participants; provision of the families of the fallen ATO participants with accommodation and status of ‘combat participants’ of all ATO participants; solution of social problems of the families of the servicemen who came from Crimea.

Poroshenko was given a month to solve these issues, otherwise they entertain the possibility of surrounding the President’s Administration with burning tires, there might be other, no less radical measures. At least that was what was heard from the column of paratroopers.

The paratrooper veterans were supported by the wives, sisters and mothers of the fighters, who have been in the ATO zone without rotation or any holidays for almost half a year now.

“If the children of the leaders of the country had come out to the front line without any equipment and fought the way our children do, and only had a rest when they returned in the shape of ‘cargo 200,’ I am sure that the Verkhovna Rada would make other decisions,” said a mother of a soldier, who is currently undergoing treatment at the Kyiv Military Hospital, with tears in her eyes.

Paratroopers who had ‘smelled gunpowder’ before were part of the column, however, being over 50 years of age, it is not easy for them to get to the front:

“They mobilize rookies without training, but turn away from us,” says Volodymyr Stepanovuch, a paratrooper Afghanistan veteran. “We are not afraid of death, because we have already looked it in the eye many times, let them take us to war, why are they taking the boys? It seems that someone is doing this on purpose: destroying the young people of our nation. Without experience, without protective equipment, they are taking them to war and using them as canon fodder. They are giving up the war,” the paratrooper continues. “I signed up three months ago and they refuse to take me.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Vinnytsya Paratrooper Union Viktor Malynovsky claims that they have to create their own so-called partisan troops and gradually add them into the ranks of the Ukrainian military.

“It is strange and illogical, to say the least, that the Ukrainian government doesn’t need our experience,” says Viktor Malynovsky. “We are asking and being ignored. If they think we are too old for war, they can use us to train the fighters who will go to the ATO. In general, we have many questions to the government, for example, why have they still not dealt with those who robbed the Ukrainian army and practically destroyed the Armed Forces? This is what I think: someone is benefiting from this and someone is covering it up,” the paratrooper concluded.

About 700 paratroop veterans and servicemen gathered for the protest, however if nothing changes within a month, they promise to increase the number of protesters tenfold and fight for the rights of ATO participants.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina

  • MrTheatrix .

    “…It is a proud privilege to be a soldier – a good soldier … [with] discipline, self-respect, pride in his unit and his country, a high sense of duty and obligation to comrades and to his superiors, and a self confidence born of demonstrated ability.”
    ― George S. Patton Jr.
    These men and woman deserve the dignity and respect of a grateful nation!

  • nysq1

    I must say I don’t like this at all. The nation is proud of them but threatening the president is wrong. Couldn’t they have talked to the administration instead of this public show? Be more constructive…

  • nysq1

    He claims UA should let old men fight, but no nation does that. It’s always Young men. And many of those volunteered knowing they were not experienced fighters. I also think it’s wrong to claim the government wants to destroy the best Young men. UA this is not the time to blackmail your government-I feel they do as much as they canwith limited means.

    • energo_intel

      If one doesn’t put a pressure, UA government doesn’t move its ass. One can’t rely on democratic mechanisms in a country that didn’t have strong institutions for hundreds of years as in some of the European countries.

      So, the deluded western commentators must stay away from giving fluffy advices on this issue.

      • nysq1

        Then it just becomes who ever has the loudest voice gets the most. Thats wrong. All ATO particapants should receive exactly the same-no group more than the other. But I agree the government should help all who have contributed.

        • Gen O.

          It’s already like that everywhere in the world.

  • Michel Cloarec

    Pity it has to come to this ! Putin must be very happy to see that.
    One older man among 12 younger men would make a difference in expertise !
    So it is in many armies !

  • rifak

    The problem with older men who are war veterans is that they USED TO BE soldiers. For a soldier to effectively fight in a unit, he must unquestionably follow orders. This is ideal when the orders are competently given. An older veteran, regardless of experience, and regardless of bravery, is more likely to follow his own instincts (good or bad) and to question/not follow orders. The results can be disastrous. Maybe these old guys should get involved in irregular units or partisan units.

    • sandy miller

      They should be used to train the young men or be used in many ways that are respectful. I realize the ukrainian government is overwhelmed with problems but one of their top priorities should be a good military.

  • Dean Venture

    These are the men who should be leading. They’re patriotic, they have experience, and they stand up for progress and against corruption and idleness.

    Why the military would decline their offer of assistance is beyond me, and a sign of problems in the administration. Sure, some may not be fit for combat on the front line, but they would make great trainers for the young people being mobilized. You don’t throw away wisdom and experience. You capitalize on it, especially in times of crisis.

    As more of these problems surface, I begin to think the (not quite a) cease fire was a good thing. The Ukraine really needs to sort out the problems of corruption and root out any Russian sympathizers in the government and military.

    How many times did the Ukraine forces allow themselves to become encircled? When they knew Russia was involved, how could they not predict and be prepared for the potential for them to escalate their involvement in late August? Why didn’t they assist the men trapped in Ilovaisk? They were begging for help for a week. There seem to be some serious deficiencies among the leadership in the MoD.