When I wrote this piece initially last week, I identified 6 Ukrainian units that filmed themselves rebelling against their chain of command. These “rebellion” videos came on the heels of the surrender of more than 2500 members of the AZOV battalion at Mariupol. Now the number is 12–that is 12 different units in the Donbas. They all voice the same complaints about their chain of command for not properly supplying them with the weapons and equipment they need to fight. This is not your normal troop bitching about conditions. All soldiers in all wars throughout history have passed the time complaining about lousy food, terrible weather, inept commanders and stupid decisions. What you see below is unprecedented in my memory.
These soldiers still believe in fighting for Ukraine but are not keen on being used as a Russian punching bag. They believe their commanders are asking them to commit suicide. Below you can watch videos of soldiers from 12 units presenting a formal demand to President Zelensky and the Ukrainian General in Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This is appearing on Ukrainian social media. It is not a Russian propaganda piece. Here are the units:
- 13th Battalion of 58th Motorized Infantry Brigade
- 2nd Company of the 46th Rifle Battalion
- 3rd Platoon of the 46th Infantry Battalion
- 115th Brigade
- 3rd Platoon of the 115th Brigade
- 71st Jaeger Infantry Brigade
- Ukrainian 14th Brigade: 6th Battalion, 4th, 5th, and 6th companies
- Cherkasy Territorial Defense
- 95th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade
- 30th Mechanized Brigade 3rd Battalion 9th Company
- 57th Motorized Brigade
- 18th Marine Battalion of the 35th Brigade
I know this is a ton of material. Those of you who believe this is all stage managed by the Russians need to explain why this is being posted on Ukrainian social media accounts. These are real Ukrainian soldiers and they are taking major risks in speaking up. This is not just one or two disgruntled privates bitching about cold chow. The members of each unit clearly felt the need to be seen supporting their spokesman.
If you took the time to watch each one you come away with enormous respect for the courage and integrity of the men speaking. I believe they are patriots who have been deceived into fighting for a false cause. But they are brave, honorable soldiers.
Being brave and honorable does not immunize one against thermobaric and conventional artillery blasts pounding the ground around your fox hole or trench. We are not talking metaphor. The blast waves pummel the body and brain of those subjected to these barrages. It is because to the stepped up Russian offensive that these Ukrainian troops are speaking up. I think the Ukrainian expression is, “Черт, нет, мы не пойдем” (i.e., Hell no, we won’t go).
At a minimum, I think this may account for rumors about coup plans to oust Zelensky. Zelensky clearly is losing critical support among the Ukrainian troops. I think it is only a matter of time before commanders start to follow.