Ukraine Officers Say Recruits Arrive At Front Lines Pathetically Undertrained

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Jun 05, 2024 - 08:15 AM

In the latest harbinger of Ukraine's inevitable defeat, combat commanders say newly-mobilized soldiers are arriving at the front lines so poorly-trained and clueless that they can't even disassemble their weapons, according to the Washington Post

One soldier described his basic training as "complete nonsense...everything is learned on the spot [at the front lines]." An officer who'd trained recruits said their rifle training was limited to just 20 rounds per soldier. 

In most armies, that would barely be considered "familiarization fire." Consider that, as of 2018, the US Army's basic combat training called for shooting 600 rounds in a 92-hour curriculum. Rifle ammo isn't the only limiting factor: The Ukrainian officer also noted that that “there are no grenades for throwing in training centers, and there are no grenade launcher rounds in the training center.”

Ukrainian army sources tell the Post some basic trainees only fire 20 rifle rounds before being sent to combat units (AP photo via Financial Times)

When soldiers arrive at the front, units are forced to spend weeks teaching them basis skills they should have already learned. “We had guys that didn’t even know how to disassemble and assemble a gun,” a deputy mechanized battalion commander told the Post. He dreads that sudden Russian progress will instantly turn new arrivals into pathetic cannon fodder: 

“We are just wasting a lot of time here on basic training. If, God forbid, there will be a breakthrough near Chasiv Yar, and we get new infantry that doesn’t know basic things, they will be sent there to just die.”

Word of the poor preparation has gotten around -- and is hampering recruitment efforts and fueling draft resistance. New advertising assures would-be enlistees that they'll receive "60 days of preparation" before facing off with the Russian army. 

Earlier this year, Ukraine lowered its minimum draft age from 27 to 25. The Post story gives a darkly amusing picture of how the country's military units engage in cutthroat competition to grab the best recruits arriving for basic training: 

Some assault brigades might devote personnel to live practically full-time near training centers, the sergeant said, to quickly snatch up the youngest, fittest, most motivated men. The officer who was an instructor at a training center confirmed that some brigades indeed plot for first dibs.

“If they send us to recruit someone, all the good ones have already been taken by other brigades, and you have to choose from the crooked, lame, sick ones. And so you choose from them, dammit.”

The same sergeant complained that 50-year-old men with back and knee problems are routinely deemed fit to fit. When he resists taking such a soldier, he's overrruled. "You try not to take them," he said. "But again, in our army, it’s set up so that the personnel department tells you, ‘No way, you have to take him, he’s healthy’.” While it's often said that war is a young man's game, the average age of a frontline Ukrainian soldier is 43.  

While the influx of soldiers from the modified draft is still being amassed, the military is, for now, shifting troops to the front who've been spending the the last months or years doing mundane duties far from danger -- such as guarding bridges hundreds of miles from the front. Some are immediately assigned to challenging missions, such as infiltrating and operating behind Russian lines

Red shading indicates area of Russian control 

“It’s scary,” said a 31-year-old who'd been guarding a bridge in Odessa since he enlisted after Russia's February 2022 invasion -- and then suddenly shipped to the eastern Donetsk battlefront on just 24 hours notice. “Nobody was really prepared.”

Against that depressing backdrop, the United States and its Western European allies continue relentlessly escalating the conflict and reinforcing Russian President Vladimir Putin's motivation to decisively win the war. In just the most recent weeks: