The summer of 2015 has brought dramatic changes into the nature of Russia's participation in the military operations in the east of Ukraine, according to a statement posted on RNB (National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine) website. Now the Armed Forces of Ukraine are confronted not with mixed Russian-terrorist groups, as it has been since the beginning of the occupation, but with structured military units of the regular army of the Russian Federation.
Russian military leadership in occupied Donbas has brought finishing touches to the creation of a powerful land connection, which is based on two army corps, trained to execute active offensive operations.. A specially created 12th military command, heading the Southern District of the Armed Forces (the headquarter is located in the city of Novocherkassk, Rostov region, Russian Federation), is to run an operation and to maintain the 1st and 2nd Army Corps. Active Russian officers hold the basic command and staff positions in these army corps. Close to 40% of rank and file consist of the residents of occupied Donetsk and Lugansk regions, as well as Russian contractors, who gained combat experience in the course of military actions in the east of Ukraine and in the hot spots of the Russian Federation. The manpower of two corps constitutes 35,000 people. In addition, a military reserve of 21 tactical strike groups of the Russian Federation (15 battalions, 6 Working Capital) numbering 9,000 people has been deployed on the occupied territories and 53 tactical strike groups (39 battalions, 14 Working Capital) numbering 50.5 thousand people are concentrated on the eastern border of Ukraine.
The formation and functioning of the 1st and 2nd Army Corps attest to the fact that the models approved by Germany during World War II and known as the ‘Waffen-SS’ (multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of Nazi Germany that participated in the front fighting in WWII) have been taken by Russians as basis for creation of these corps.
According to the historical information cited by Turchinov, in the course of WW2 because of limited mobilization resources, the German government decided to take on service the volunteers who resided in the occupied countries. Under the official policy of that time, only German nationals could serve in the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces). Since in Waffen-SS such restrictions were not present, its army consisted of special Waffen-divisions of foreign volunteers, formed usually on ethnic or religious grounds. German staff officers held commanding positions in these Waffen-divisions, while volunteers from the occupied countries either were used as cannon fodder, or held low military posts.
At the end of the sppech, Turchynov stressed that we were opposed to full-fledged military units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. A large number of heavy weapons and military equipment is concentrated in the occupied territories. Russia-backed militaries keep on accumulating the large amounts of fuel and lubricants, as well as ammunition to ensure active offensive operations, which, under the plan of the Russian General Staff, are to be accompanied by bringing additional units of the Russian Armed Forces into the territory of Ukraine.
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