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The Truth from the Frontlines: Ukrainian Soldiers Are No Longer Willing to Fight

Ukrainian soldiers are demoralized, refusing to fight, deserting, or self-harming to avoid deployment to the frontlines.

by Alessandro Orsini

Given that the information about the war in Ukraine circulating in Italy is tainted, I find myself compelled to speak plainly: Ukrainian soldiers are beseeching the West to bring an end to the war, as they can no longer face certain death. With very few exceptions, young Ukrainians are refusing to fight any longer. They are either mutinying or fleeing abroad. Some even go to the extent of injuring themselves to avoid being sent to the front. I can easily demonstrate this, but let me proceed systematically.

Firstly, it’s crucial for the reader to understand that three extremely serious events have transpired within a matter of days. The first is the fall of Avdiivka, the most significant battle of the war. Some background on Avdiivka is necessary to grasp the disparity between the ideological perception of the war in Italian drawing rooms and the harsh reality on the ground. Zelensky wanted his soldiers to meet the same fate in Avdiivka as in Bakhmut: a senseless death to delay the inevitable fall of the city as long as possible. Syrskyi, the new army commander, agreed. It’s no wonder many soldiers refer to him as the “butcher.” Not because he slaughters Russians, but because he sacrifices his own men. Desperate, many Ukrainians in Avdiivka started fleeing across the fields as the ratio of Ukrainian to Russian artillery fire was one to ten, as revealed by Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the commander of the Ukrainian southern front, to the New York Times. At the war’s outset, I said: “For every NATO bullet fired by Ukraine at Russia, Russia will fire ten bullets back at Ukraine.” And so it has been. Upon hearing of the fledgling flight, Syrskyi rushed to declare a retreat. In truth, Syrskyi didn’t order the retreat; he merely acknowledged that Ukrainians were abandoning the city.

The second grave event, also unreported in Italy, is that just days after Avdiivka, Krynky fell as well. Krynky was a bridgehead established by Kiev in the eastern part of Kherson, where many of Zelensky’s best soldiers fell since the operation was highly daring. The loss of Krynky means that Zelensky no longer has even a one-in-a-billion chance of reclaiming the Kherson region. That chance never truly existed, but Krynky allowed NATO to weave the tale that Ukrainians, starting from that piece of land, would rout the Russian army.

The third dire development is that the Russians have penetrated Robotyne, reclaiming half of it. Robotyne is a village in Zaporizhzhia that Ukrainians recaptured after two months of counteroffensive. The offensive began on June 5; Robotyne was taken on August 27. The cost of this minuscule conquest has been a mountain of Ukrainian corpses reaching the sky. The situation is straightforward: Ukrainians at the front are desperate and no longer wish to fight. While there are soldiers who battle like martyrs, they are in the minority. The vast majority of the army consists of people hastily conscripted, lacking the heroic sense of duty found in elite units, to whom I extend all my respect. It’s human nature. What’s inhumane are the declarations from Corriere della Sera, Radio Rai, Radio 24, and the likes of Calenda, who shout: “Go on, Ukrainians, fight to the death!” The problem is, Ukrainians no longer want to fight because they’ve realized the war is lost, and their situation will only worsen over time. They haven’t won a single frontal battle. There has never been a Ukrainian Bakhmut. Sadly, Ukraine is a finished country; its people are doomed. This is the death of a nation. It doesn’t take scientific observation to see this. It only takes a bit of humanity.

Il Fatto Quotidiano, February 27, 2024

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