The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

“Very, Very Difficult Counter-Offensive”

Jul 23, 2023

This article is translated from the July 19 issue #2868 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

Zelensky has just described his army’s counter-offensive as "very, very difficult." As for his staff’s communiqués, they only mention a few square kilometers recaptured from Russian forces since May.

This observation by the Ukrainian civilian and military authorities probably owes little to a sudden concern for frankness on their part. They are well aware that their Western sponsors, informed by their military advisors on the ground, their spy satellites, or even simple drones, know every detail of the real situation. Not only is there a relative shortage of ammunition, and even of equipment that the Ukrainian army can and knows how to use, but there is also a lack of motivation among a significant proportion of the population to risk their lives at the front.

In a new development, it’s the Ukrainian authorities who are saying so. A few days ago, the head of the Military Enlistment Office (MEO) in Lviv, the capital of the nationalist West, told the local media that only 20% of those who can be mobilized come forward of their own accord. The rest, four out of five, have to be “picked up” on the street. According to him, if the MEO give up these street “raids,” "mobilization could be compromised."

In Chernihiv, a large city in northern Ukraine, MEO employees are now equipped with body cameras, to record that they are handing out military summonses to those seeking to slip through the net. A few weeks ago, this region decided that men of military age should present themselves to the authorities without waiting to be summoned: obviously, this had little effect.

In Odessa, a port with a population of over one million, officials have reported to the online media outlet Strana that there are more cases of forced mobilization in their city. The same media outlet quoted a member of the Supreme Rada (Parliament) Defense Committee as commenting on the cases of "violent mobilization" increasingly reported on the net. Speaking of "human rights violations, beatings" of recalcitrant recruits, this gentleman, in order to exonerate the officer caste, accuses conscripts of "deliberately provoking such situations in most cases."

As we can see, these cases are increasingly numerous and recognized as such.