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High Morale, Experience Behind Militia’s Successes in Eastern Ukraine

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The successes of the militia in southeastern Ukraine can be explained by its high morale, accumulated experience and the use of military equipment abandoned by the Kiev forces and later put into action by independence fighters.

MOSCOW, August 27 (RIA Novosti) - The successes of the militia in southeastern Ukraine can be explained by its high morale, accumulated experience and the use of military equipment abandoned by the Kiev forces and later put into action by independence fighters.

“By and large, who is fighting in the so-called armed forces of Ukraine today? Those called up from the reserves during mobilization – unprepared, uncoordinated units. And what drives the militia? They are fighting for their land, their children, wives, for their right to live,” Russia’s former First Deputy Minister of Defense and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces General Yuri Baluyevsky told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

According to General Baluyevsky, independence fighters in eastern Ukraine have managed to deprive the Kiev forces of their main advantage – heavy military equipment – by getting their hands on units that were either lost or left behind by the Ukrainian military.

Beluyevsky noted that since the start of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, militia fighters have acquired significant experience in conducting military operations using armored vehicles, tanks and heavy weapons, and are no longer at a disadvantage against Ukraine’s armed forces when it comes to military equipment.

Ukraine’s military is more powerful than militia fighters in the east of the country, but if it is dragged into a prolonged offense operation and then hit with a strong counter-offense, it can be defeated, according to Russian National Geopolitical Academy President Konstantin Sivkov.

“If an enemy, even one superior in power and numbers, is exhausted and its resources are depleted, it can be crushed,” Sivkov told RIA Novosti on Wednesday, recalling the victories of militia fighters ahead of Independence Day in Ukraine.

One of the reasons for the militia fighters’ recent victories is the ability to successfully coordinate their moves, Anatoly Tsyganok from Moscow State University’s Global Policy Department noted in a Wednesday interview with RIA Novosti.

“Both the Luhansk and the Donetsk fronts are fighting in a coordinated manner,” Tsyganok said.

Since mid-April, Kiev forces have been conducting a military operation in eastern Ukraine aimed at suppressing independence supporters who refused to acknowledge the new government that came to power after a coup on February 22.

According to the United Nations, more than two thousand people have died as a result of the confrontation, and over 4,950 people have sustained injuries in the fighting since mid-April.

Moscow has repeatedly condemned the Kiev operation in eastern Ukraine and sent a humanitarian convoy to the region, delivering about 2,000 tons of aid to the city of Luhansk.

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