ERR in Zaporizhzhia: Western instructors on hand for Ukraine mobilization
Talk of military mobilization is not confined to Russia alone – Ukraine also recognizes the need for more personnel at the front, ERR correspondent Anton Aleksejev reports from Ukraine. There are also western military instructors present in Ukraine, who can train incoming new waves of mobilized troops.
In official channels, the word "mobilization" is not being used in Ukraine, but rater, the creation of a reserve, Aleksejev, who, together with cameraman Kristjan Svirgsden, delivers regular reportages from some of the front-line Ukraine war zones.
"Matvei", a Ukrainian artillery officer, told Aleksejev that: "The resources we have now may not be sufficient. In an offensive operation, we would need to be outnumbered three to one," referring to standard military doctrine whereby for an offensive to be successful, attackers must outnumber defenders by around a 3:1 ratio.
"We must be ready for that. If the leadership were to decide that we need to increase our reserves, then so be it," he went on.
"Many of our soldiers are undergoing training in various in European countries at the moment. Thanks to our partners in Europe, the U.S., Canada and Australia, we are also getting equipment," "Matvei" continued.
Training artillery soldiers takes more time than it does for a regular infantryman, Aleksejev reported.
Training an artilleryman takes more time than training a regular infantryman, an issue even more pressing with reservists.
Ukrainian gunner "Naaskel" said: "There are few such specialists, and they have to be trained on the spot. The head of our section just came to us straight from military college; he is an artilleryman. However, if ordinary people come who had been employed as, for example, salespeople, managers, telemarketers etc., it will take some time to train them."
Replenished ranks are still needed among Ukraine's artillery forces, however.
"I think it is needed," "Hetman" told ERR.
"People must be present and prepared for their work, and the right equipment and tools are also required to do so. This makes [more reserves] necessary; we must be ready for everything," "Hetman" continued.
Nonetheless, there is an even more pressing need for infantry soldiers.
Another Ukrainian soldier, "Cloud", said: "It is the duty of every citizen of Ukraine to defend their country. I think that every man between the ages of 20 and 40 should be obliged to go to the military commissariat, report in and wait for that time when the state or homeland needs him, rather than by evading this, hiding or escaping abroad."
Western instructors also work at the training center in the Zaporizhzhia region.
One of these, "Bandera", whose image and voice were rendered anonymous in the report, said: "We usually try to keep the groups smaller, usually between eight to 20 people at a time," adding that this helped with more manageable supervision and instruction.
"Bandera" said he had served 15 years in the Canadian infantry, and when the current war in Ukraine began nearly a year ago, he immediately relocated there.
"Originally I thought about going the Foreign Legion route, being a fighter, but once getting here I realized the biggest impact I could have on the Ukrainian military is to train and strengthen their soldiers as a whole," "Bandera" went on.
On average, Ukrainian soldiers remain in the training camp anything from five days to up to two weeks.
Another Canadian-origin instructor, "Wolf", told ERR that: "You always need more time and more training, so no, it's not enough. But there's a war on; this is not peacetime. They have to be fighting the war and training, and the commanders need to balance these two things."
"Wolf" and his colleagues are ready for a new wave of mobilization.
"I have the energy [to remain here] until the Russians are out of Ukraine. I stay here until they're gone. Until Ukraine is free," "Wolf" added.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte; Merili Nael