31 March 2014

Ukraine 3/30: The Speed Bumps on the Border

If the Russian Hordes come over the borderthere won't be much to stop them.

They know Russian tanks would make short work of their ramshackle defenses and shallow trenches. But with U.S. and Europe shrinking from the fight, this rag-tag band of civilian volunteers know they could be the first, last and only line of defense if Moscow rolls into this corner of northeast Ukraine.
"We can't expect help from anybody else. Our own government is too passive. But hopefully we can rely on support from ordinary Ukrainians," Vladimir Fedorok told CNN on a blustery morning close to the Ukrainian border village of Senkivka.
In more peaceful times, Fedorok runs a farm supplies company. Now, with Russia estimated to be massing up to 88,000 troops just across the border from Ukraine's eastern frontier, he finds himself marshaling a newly formed self-defense committee. They're setting up an outpost along the highway that cuts from the Ukrainian-Russian border to the Ukraine's interior.
He and his closest aides, Younis and Olec, are clad in British Army-issue uniforms from the Iraq "Desert Storm" campaign. They still bear the Union Jack insignia on the left sleeve.
"We picked them up at the bazaar. I've no idea how they got there. Including my boots, I paid around 100 euros," Fedorok said. Other members of his self-defense unit are sporting surplus combat jackets and pants from other European militaries.
All of the volunteers say they have some army training from time spent doing military service. Fedorok said they've also been getting refresher courses from friendly Ukrainian army officers in recent days. Two members of the group claim -- like an unspecified number of other Ukrainian nationalists -- to have fought alongside Muslim insurgents against the Russians in Chechnya.

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