Ukraine: The volunteer war

Full video transcript

Ukraine: the volunteer war?

How did the director

of a zoo with a weekend hobby

flying remote-controlled planes

become enemy number one

of the pro-Russian forces in Ukraine?

Yuriy dedicated his life to caring

for the animals at the zoo in Odessa,

until last year,

when he had to leave his position

after refusing to become

complicit in a corruption scheme.

Yanukovych didn’t

understand one thing:

the zoo director is

a guard for the animals

and a guard cannot be stealing.

He had to be a guard.

You can deceive people,

but you cannot deceive animals.

Yuriy took his passion for planes

and video cameras to Army SOS,

just one of several

volunteer organisations

that support Ukrainian armed

forces with essential equipment.

Now he travels to the front line

to spot enemy positions

and guide in artillery fire.

Something that has made him

unpopular among the Russian spies

that he says operate

in the Donbass area.

They announced me

to be enemy number one

because I traced downa Russian

centre full of military equipment.

The volunteer stopgap

is urgently needed.

Last year the Kyiv Post newspaper

published a photo

of Red Mullet,

the nickname of a Ukrainian soldier

who goes to war

wearing completely donated gear.

It shows the shortfall in equipment

that the government

can provide to their soldiers.

At Patriot Defence,

a non-governmental organisation,

which trains soldiers in giving

first aid training and equipment,

volunteers say

the soldiers’ situation is grim.

They get very little

from the government.

They have,

they get small first aid kits

that just have

old rubber Soviet tourniquets

and one bandage.

On top of the poor equipment

is the lack of infrastructure.

According to Patriot Defence

the time from a soldier’s injury

to first medical contact

can be up to an hour

and from there

it can be a further two days

to a field medical surgical hospital.

The Ministry of Defence says

this is a legacy of annual cuts

in the army dating back

to the collapse of the Soviet Union

and only halted after Yanukovych’s

government was ousted.

Some also point out

that his government

seemed to deliberately

neglect the armed forces,

especially in the East.

Since there was no apparent evidence

of any danger from neighbours,

the process of shortages

continued up until the last year.

When Russia invaded Crimea,

Ukraine was caught off-guard.

This has made the fighting

volunteers even more important.

Their help was

especially felt in the first months

of the conflict for supplying

the army with helmets.

But for the volunteers

at Army SOS like Alina,

who gives up every weekend

to help, the most important thing

is there is no time to wait

for government support.

We have no contact

with the government,

we are independent volunteers.

We know that the government

is doing something,

but we don’t see any result

and maybe it’s easier for us

to do what we are doing

independently.

Ukraine: the volunteer war?

How did the director

of a zoo with a weekend hobby

flying remote-controlled planes

become enemy number one

of the pro-Russian forces in Ukraine?

Yuriy dedicated his life to caring

for the animals at the zoo in Odessa,

until last year,

when he had to leave his position

after refusing to become

complicit in a corruption scheme.

Yanukovych didn’t

understand one thing:

the zoo director is

a guard for the animals

and a guard cannot be stealing.

He had to be a guard.

You can deceive people,

but you cannot deceive animals.

Yuriy took his passion for planes

and video cameras to Army SOS,

just one of several

volunteer organisations

that support Ukrainian armed

forces with essential equipment.

Now he travels to the front line

to spot enemy positions

and guide in artillery fire.

Something that has made him

unpopular among the Russian spies

that he says operate

in the Donbass area.

They announced me

to be enemy number one

because I traced downa Russian

centre full of military equipment.

The volunteer stopgap

is urgently needed.

Last year the Kyiv Post newspaper

published a photo

of Red Mullet,

the nickname of a Ukrainian soldier

who goes to war

wearing completely donated gear.

It shows the shortfall in equipment

that the government

can provide to their soldiers.

At Patriot Defence,

a non-governmental organisation,

which trains soldiers in giving

first aid training and equipment,

volunteers say

the soldiers’ situation is grim.

They get very little

from the government.

They have,

they get small first aid kits

that just have

old rubber Soviet tourniquets

and one bandage.

On top of the poor equipment

is the lack of infrastructure.

According to Patriot Defence

the time from a soldier’s injury

to first medical contact

can be up to an hour

and from there

it can be a further two days

to a field medical surgical hospital.

The Ministry of Defence says

this is a legacy of annual cuts

in the army dating back

to the collapse of the Soviet Union

and only halted after Yanukovych’s

government was ousted.

Some also point out

that his government

seemed to deliberately

neglect the armed forces,

especially in the East.

Since there was no apparent evidence

of any danger from neighbours,

the process of shortages

continued up until the last year.

When Russia invaded Crimea,

Ukraine was caught off-guard.

This has made the fighting

volunteers even more important.

Their help was

especially felt in the first months

of the conflict for supplying

the army with helmets.

But for the volunteers

at Army SOS like Alina,

who gives up every weekend

to help, the most important thing

is there is no time to wait

for government support.

We have no contact

with the government,

we are independent volunteers.

We know that the government

is doing something,

but we don’t see any result

and maybe it’s easier for us

to do what we are doing

independently.

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