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Ukrainian troops using ‘50-year-old Ladas’

Kiev should have never started the summer counteroffensive demanded by its Western backers, one soldier told German reporters

Ukrainian troops have to use fifty-year-old Soviet civilian off-road cars named ‘Lada’ to get to the frontlines, German tabloid Bild reported on Monday, citing several soldiers and officers. The sources told the outlet of “huge problems” ranging from inadequate command to a severe lack of essential military equipment and supplies.

The soldiers cited an acute shortage of armored troop carriers and military off-road vehicles, necessitating a dependence on self-financed civilian vehicles for military transport.

“In a car repair shop, we pay for everything out of our own pocket,” one soldier said.

Kiev’s forces also suffer from the lack of reconnaissance and strike drones, which they also have to purchase themselves or get from various aid organizations and private donors. Some units have to rely on custom-built unmanned aerial vehicles outfitted with parts made on 3D-printers, one of Bild’s sources reported.

“We also pay rent for the houses we sleep in, and for food. That makes you angry,” one of the soldiers said, adding that, while Russia “invests everything” in its forces, their Ukrainian counterparts have to rely largely on themselves.

The effectiveness of the Russian drones and their constant presence on the battlefield also severely limits the capabilities of Ukrainian troops, several sources told Bild. The air defense systems supplied to Kiev by the West hardly get to the frontlines at all, some admitted.

“Dozens of Western anti-aircraft systems, such as the [German-made] Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, are being used like stationary air defense systems” in Ukrainian cities, one soldier told Bild. “We have almost none of those equipment pieces at the front,” he added.

Many who spoke to Bild were also highly critical of the nation’s high command, which, they said, had reduced all the NATO training to nothing. “Since the senior officers are the same as before, hardly anything has changed in terms of warfare compared to the Soviet era,” a soldier trained by NATO nations told Bild, adding that the Ukrainian forces do not conduct any “combined arms” operations.

Many in the ranks of the military are growing angry with Ukraine’s political and military leadership, Bild’s sources confirmed. “The general staff should have never passed on the counteroffensive orders given to [President Vladimir] Zelensky from abroad,” one officer told the paper.

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