First Round of Ukraine Demobilization Set for March/April

“We will complete the training of new recruits in March and April, who will then replace those at the front right now,” said Poltorak

The demobilization is to begin on March 18, 2015.

“The demobilization will begin on March 15. The conditions are as follows: as of that date you must be in service for a year, minus 10 days, since your date of arriving at the military commissariat following your mobilization,” announced Sergey Galushko, the deputy head of the information technology department for the Ministry of Defense.

In his words, if someone had arrived at the commissariat on April 20th, then on April 10 he should be demobilized and sent back to the reserve.

Incidentally, the demobilization and the release to the “general reserve, where they will remain prepared to carry out future missions” will be conditional on the arrival of trained replacements to the units in question.

There is little doubt that the rotation will greatly decrease the already low combat readiness of Ukrainian formations, since they will lose a significant proportion of fighters who have genuine combat experience (assuming Poltorak keeps his promise).

Numerous sources confirm that the training of the replacements is going exceptionally badly, and that the training camps are pure fiction. It is obvious that the main burden of training will fall on the field commanders who receive the replacements.

It means that Ukrainian forces will not be able to conduct active combat operations for some time. Does it mean that the junta will relent and its formations will not participate in active operations? Is the junta ready to accept an armistice after a thorough defeat?

It’s doubtful. The junta badly needs a “victory” or something that can be presented as a victory. There are certain hopes that there will be disorders in Moscow, which could be portrayed as an achievement, and one leading to something. But that did not pan out either.

Ukraine’s population, for its part, is ridding itself of the revolutionary frenzy and is starting to ask more questions of the junta. Just as their attention could be diverted by an escalation on the Donbass.

Therefore there is high likelihood that the junta will try to carry out an operation of some sort which could be presented to the Ukrainian society as a victory. And only afterwards, having obtained the status of “victors” would they embrace a “ceasefire”, which would mean a serious preparation for the destruction of the Donbass.

Therefore one canoe rule out the possibility of an armed provocation against Russia around Crimea, which would escalate the conflict to a new level. There are many indicators that Ukraine is preparing for something of this sort.

In any event, the timeframe of the demobilization announced by Poltorak suggests that the provocation would have to occur within that period, irrespective of whether it would be launched against Novorossia or Russia in the Crimea. The Kiev junta will do everything possible to use as many of its experienced and prepared fighters in these fights. As a last gasp.

Naturally, the junta would rather not carry out any demobilization, but it is forced to do so by the rapidly growing social tensions (the relatives of mobilized reservists are ready to rebel) and by the failure of the fourth wave of mobilization. Therefore one can use the demobilization to give some hope to the prospective cannon fodder.

Moreover, one can also use the demobilization to provoke conflict between the relatives of the fighters and the draft evaders, by arguing that the army cannot release somebody’s husband, son, father, because the neighbors don’t want to relieve him.

Still, promises are made to be broken. It may yet turn out that there will be no demobilization, especially if combat operations escalate. Therefore the soonest any Ukrainian draftee gets demobilized is by getting ingloriously killed in yet another Donbass cauldron and getting sent home as a corpse.

J.Hawk’s Comment: 

Nemtsov or no Nemtsov, Ukraine is still a country in crisis which now has to decide what to do with all the reservists it called up last year. It’s hard to imaging Poltorak or anyone would dare cancel the demob, regardless of whether replacements are available. Keeping soldiers beyond their originally established term of service risks major discipline problems, to the point of mutiny and rebellion. Maybe they’d be willing to stay on if there was a prospect of participating in some quick victorious campaign, but that’s just not the case.

However, the demob order only affects the UAF. It does not concern the volunteer battalions or the National Guard, whose relative importance will grow as a result. But those formations are not enough to compensate for the loss of the combat veterans of the UAF. Given the personnel and equipment problems, it seems highly unlikely that Kiev would seriously entertain another offensive any time soon.

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