Kyiv demotes controversial commander
Ukraine has demoted a senior battlefield commander after he admitted his unit had taken heavy losses in fighting around the city of Bakhmut.
The battalion commander, known by his call sign Kupol, gave an unusually frank assessment of Ukrainian setbacks in an interview from the front lines earlier this week.
He revealed that all of the original 500 soldiers in his unit had either been killed or injured, a rare acknowledgement from inside the Ukrainian ranks.
The Ukrainian high command is at pains to present a positive spin on the increasingly bloody defence of the East.
US officials have estimated that the Ukrainian army may have taken 120,000 casualties compared with 200,000 by the Russian army.
Kupol told The Washington Post this week that the Ukrainian army training was often poor and that some of the rookie replacements did not know how to throw a hand grenade or fire a rifle.
Others had abandoned their positions shortly after arriving at the front line, he said.
“They just drop everything and run. That’s it. Do you understand why? Because the soldier doesn’t shoot. I ask him why, and he says, ‘I’m afraid of the sound of the shot.’ And for some reason, he has never thrown a grenade... We need Nato instructors in all our training centres, and our instructors need to be sent into the trenches. Because they failed in their task.”
The Daily Telegraph, London