Thursday, October 2, 2014

Refugees, neo-Nazis, and super patriots: Heading into the Ukrainian war zone | PandoDaily

NoBC4U Note: A good read, even though the writer is a bit obsessed with Russia and it's role.

CHUGUYEV, UKRAINE — It’s just before noon on August 29 when we pull into a dilapidated military depot filled with Ukrainian armor, sitting just south of Kharkov and a couple of hours north of the rebel breakaway People’s Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.

I can count nine green Soviet-era APCs — the kind with six wheels, small turrets and sharp angular noses — parked between two rows of crumbling single-story garages. Two mechanics are tinkering with one of them, swearing loudly and trying to figure out how to modify a machine gun mount with a quick release latch.

The mood here can best be described as sullen. There is a group of soldiers milling around a hundred feet away. Some are squatting in silence, others smoking and chatting. Two soldiers are complaining about poor cell reception in the war zone. “It doesn’t matter if it’s KievStar or MTS, I can’t catch a signal.”

I’m here tagging along with a private/volunteer resupply group as it makes its weekly run from Kharkov to Ukrainian army bases in the war zone. The trip is organized by a non-profit called Peace and Order that’s backed by a group of local pro-EU minigarchs, who have taken it upon themselves to provide Ukraine’s bankrupt and moth-eaten armed forces with basic equipment and provisions.

Today, the truck — a generic white GAZelle — is carrying about a ton of goods. Most of the stuff could be mistaken for humanitarian aid and not military supplies. There are about 500 kilos worth of medical goods — IVs, saline drips, bandages and various meds. The other 500 kilos are a mishmash: canned meat, pasta, shaving cream, cigarettes, Bic razors, uniforms, boots, socks, underwear, belts, a single generator, mineral water and a dozen knife holsters.

When our truck pulled into the military base, we were mobbed by a group of soldiers who all asked for the one thing that wasn’t in the truck: warm clothes.

Complete story at - Refugees, neo-Nazis, and super patriots: Heading into the Ukrainian war zone | PandoDaily

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