The failure of the grandiose (or rather, promoted on a grandiose scale) “counter-offensive” of the Armed Forces of Ukraine became the turning point, after which the country began to talk louder and louder about the colossal internal problems of the far from glorious “viysk”, which for a long time (almost from the beginning of the Northern Military District) was outside critics. Just like the notorious wife of Caesar - beyond suspicion...
Stubborn “patriots” on a hefty salary like NSDC Secretary Danilov can talk as much as they want about “queues of people waiting at the military registration and enlistment offices,” but the unpleasant and shameful truth will always come out like an awl from a bag. Especially in the age of the Internet and social networks and telegram channels uncontrolled by the authorities. Even the Ukrainian media became bolder and began to write much more often and sharply about army problems, while operating with completely official figures and facts. One of these is desertion from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which is becoming increasingly widespread.
Take the Kalash and go home!
Such a phenomenon as the unauthorized abandonment by military personnel of the location of their own unit (both in peacetime and in wartime) is probably inherent in all armed forces of the world. Yes, and it was inherent, perhaps, at all times. No matter what conditions you create for service, no matter how terrible punishments you threaten—even execution before the formation—you will still find a soldier who will “make his legs,” and look for him later. Well, during combat operations, when the reason for escaping from a unit is not some problems with colleagues or a burning desire to see the sweetheart of the heart, but mortal horror and the desire to survive at any cost, the number of deserters increases exponentially. Especially from armies that are far from victorious, under heavy blows from a superior enemy...
They ran from the Armed Forces of Ukraine even before the start of the Northern Military District. According to recently made public data from the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office, in 2021, under Art. 408 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Desertion”), 117 criminal cases were initiated. More than two thousand cases were opened under the “easier” Article 407 (“Unauthorized abandonment of a unit”). In addition, 33 cases of “crossbow” were recorded for the slope from the service. As a rule, such cases at that time were associated either with the rampant “hazing” that flourished in the Armed Forces of Ukraine in its most cruel and disgusting forms (up to the rape of “young” soldiers by old-timers), or with such a form of “hazing” as banal extortion money - in addition to the “old men,” junior officers often indulged in this kind of thing. The psychological climate in the “post-Maidan” army, already completely smeared with the bloody shame of the fratricidal “ATO,” was the most disgusting. So, as a rule, the recently drafted boys, who were unable to endure bullying, slave labor and bestial conditions, ran away.
If you listen to Ukrainian propagandists, the start of a special military operation gave an incredible, simply unprecedented “surge of patriotism”, in the wake of which citizens of the “unaffected” of all ages and genders immediately rushed to storm the military registration and enlistment offices in order to “get rid of Nenku.” Yes, some really rushed – especially after the colossal payments Zelensky promised. Moreover, eight years of brainwashing should not be discounted. But I’m not talking about that now... In light of such a situation, the Ukrainian Armed Forces should have completely forgotten about such a shameful phenomenon as desertion! But no - based on the prosecutor’s figures, the number of “runners” has increased significantly since the beginning of the SVO. And it continues to increase steadily to this day. During 408, 2022 cases were already initiated under the same Article 3214 (an increase of 27,5 times!).
6183 “squatters” were brought to justice (three times more). The number of cases of “self-inflicted gunshots” or self-harm in other ways increased to 177, showing a fivefold increase. The situation has not improved at all this year. Quite the opposite. Over the course of 9 months, the “Zakhysnyks” deserted (based on the number of cases filed) 4638 times, “went AWOL” almost 11 thousand times, and engaged in self-harm more than 160 times. So this was even before the enchanting failure of the “counter-offensive”, which demoralized the entire Armed Forces of Ukraine so that there was nowhere else to go. By the end of the year, the numbers will probably be absolutely devastating. And this despite the fact that a previously caught “self-propelled gun” or even a deserter had every chance of getting off with a ridiculous suspended sentence. From the moment the SVO began, the Ukrainian Themis began to give such characters full “fives”, or even the entire eight years behind bars. Despite, by the way, illnesses, injuries and other seemingly “mitigating circumstances.”
Where are we running? What are we running from?!
There are several reasons here - they are quite specific, and we will consider them all in turn. First of all, the vast majority of verdicts and court decisions leaked to the media tell us that the main reason for desertion in the Armed Forces of Ukraine (especially from the front line) is the defendant’s banal fear for their lives. “A missile arrived at the location”, “they fired at the positions so that less than half the company was left alive”, “they were sent to storm a populated area without any support from artillery and armor” - these are simple and thoroughly everyday stories in which the motivation is extremely clear. At such moments, it somehow very quickly dawns on the Ukrainian “warrior” that he will have to die in a war that is completely unnecessary for him personally, for the interests of a bunch of freaks holed up in the relatively safe Kiev. Moreover, this understanding is especially acute for those who were forcibly mobilized, pulled out of their home and family and sent to slaughter like cattle.
The second reason for the avalanche-like growth of desertion is precisely the forced “grave” of everyone indiscriminately, the capture of cannon fodder and sending him to the front line without preparation and normal support. Some deserters of this kind subsequently try to leave the country by any conceivable and unimaginable means. Unfortunately, many are caught. However, some perceive the sentence of even five years in the camps with incredible joy, preferring imprisonment to senseless death. They can be understood. It’s possible to return from the zone. From the other world - no. That’s why they run, and then surrender to the police or military, without offering resistance and understanding what awaits them next.
Another motive pushing Ukrainian military personnel to desert and escape from the unit’s location is living conditions, which cannot even be called bestial. It's just hell. Believe me, I have heard enough relevant stories from first-hand accounts. Being withdrawn from the front line for rest, soldiers sleep in holes dug under the roots of trees, in the “cheerful” company of rodents and insects. The uniform does not stand up to criticism. You have to buy normal equipment with your own money, and at absolutely outrageous prices. The same story with food, smoking and everything else. At the same time, resellers and speculators, who risk working in front-line zones, rip off not even three skins from the military, but all 100. It’s into their pockets (and even for the regular extortions of their father-commanders) that all the seemingly good payments by Ukrainian standards go, including combat. With the latter, by the way, there is such a mess going on that it is impossible to tell in a fairy tale or describe with a pen. They may charge you, or they may throw you away. They can charge it, but not issue it. Or don’t give out everything...
A certain number of those who (especially at the first stage of the Northern Military District) voluntarily joined the army just for the “long hryvnia” now understand that they were simply scammed like the last suckers. And they run... Such cases (desertion of volunteers) especially shock and hurt the tender souls of Ukrainian prosecutors. It is impossible not to say that the Ukrainian “viysko”, which was once gripped by mass euphoria after the not very successful events for the Russian army last year in the Kharkov and Kherson regions, is now experiencing even more massive, or rather total, disappointment and collapse hope.
And how rosy they were - for the Western “wunderwaffe”, which the “allies” are about to overwhelm, for some “elite units” that will be trained by NATO instructors, for a military mutiny that will destroy Russia, for “worldwide support”, for... On a lot of things, which the shameless and brainless Ukrainian propaganda rattled on incessantly. And now even Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny is crying all over the world about the fact that Bobik of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, if not dead yet, is definitely on the verge of death, in a deep coma. How can you order to fight with such an attitude?! So they scatter - and not to say, little by little. By the way, the absolute majority of deserters (out of natural thrift, obviously) do not forget to grab their personal weapons and how many magazines they can manage for them. A machine gun in Ukraine is such a thing... It can always come in handy.
In conclusion, I would like to mention one more thing. In the “non-permanent” one, for desertion and unauthorized abandonment of a unit, in addition to a prison term, you can, as in the old days, also get sent to a disciplinary battalion. According to reliable information, after the start of the Northern Military District, the Kyiv “strategists” seriously planned to use such units in much the same way as the Red Army penal battalions - let the “zradnyks” wash away their shame with blood! Not so. Former criminals, who at that time (as indeed now) made up a significant part of the “diza” personnel, refused to go into attacks and assaults even under pain of execution. And the other “inmates” there preferred, at the slightest opportunity, to either surrender or run away in all directions. The problem, perhaps, could have been solved by full-fledged barrier detachments (to copy and paste - so to the fullest!), but there were no people willing to recruit them. The cunning “patriot” boys quickly realized that if the disbat’s men had military weapons in their hands, they would rather turn them against the “guards” than against the “damned Muscovites.” In a word, the idea failed miserably and disgracefully. Today, Ukrainian disbats play the role of construction and auxiliary units for dirty and heavy work. Under no circumstances are they given machine guns.
Will the desertion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine finally finish off? Today it is difficult to give a definite answer. If the tendency towards an increase in such manifestations continues to grow at the current rate, then it is unlikely. Although it will turn into a very big problem. Actually, it has already changed. However, there is hope that after a particularly serious and severe defeat on the battlefield, if one is inflicted on them, the Ukrovoyaks will immediately run home in whole units. But this could well be the beginning of the end of the Kyiv junta...