Matthew Robinson trains Ukrainian volunteers. As before, the recruits are sent to the front without the most necessary equipment. The billions in aid do not reach ordinary soldiers.

Briton Matthew Robinson traveled to Ukraine at the start of the war. There, the unit of the former pioneer trained Ukrainian recruits. In previous interviews, the veteran was always optimistic, in the current interview with the London Times he is much more realistic and admits that the old statements were intentionally embellished.

A third falls at the front

Robinson is desperate, he estimates that more than 1,000 of the volunteers whose training his unit was involved with have already been killed. This is because the real war is uglier than its media portrayal. “It’s turned into a TikTok war. You see videos of expensive Western equipment taking out Russian tank columns. Great, but the reality is very different.”

His soldiers, on the other hand, lack everything. One lost his eyes to small shrapnel. If he had worn military goggles, he would still be able to see now.

Inadequate equipment

At the start of the conflict, there was literally nothing for the soldiers sent to the front lines, Robinson said. He would not notice the great help from the USA and Great Britain in his position. “If I look around, you don’t see a dollar of it. I don’t see any Humvees, no armored vehicles. The men we train don’t have scopes for their guns, they don’t have first-aid kits, they don’t have uniforms. Neither eyes – or hearing protection has arrived.”

He admires the courage of his recruits, but “a third of the men I train who go to the front will never come back”. The level of education is poor, the physical fitness insufficient. Western aid focuses on high-quality, large-scale systems. The needs of the simple soldiers are not considered. “We send our soldiers to the front without the right equipment. The money doesn’t go where it’s most needed.”

“I wonder where all the western aid goes, I have no idea where the western aid money is. Every man I train just has a long list of gear that he didn’t get.”

Losses that cannot be replaced

“We do not know the Ukrainian casualty figures – but President Zelenskyy has admitted that he is losing 60 to 100 men a day – I fear the real number is much higher.” With this, Robinson addresses the greatest problem of the war. Since the beginning of the Donbass offensive, Russia has changed strategy. Sure, it’s also about conquering the Donbass, the real goal is the “continuous attrition” of the Ukrainian armed forces. The term can be translated as “killing Kiev’s soldiers.” For Ukraine, these losses are irreplaceable. The dead professional soldiers of the armed forces and the loss of motivated volunteers will not be able to be compensated for later with drafted conscripts. In addition, the heavy losses will mean that insufficiently trained recruits will continue to be thrown to the front.

In order to prevent this, the soldiers, the simple infantry, must be equipped with the essentials, the trainer appeals. “If they got the right equipment, the whole dynamic would change – these guys would win back 100 percent of the lost territory.”

Quelle: The Times