Why the Ukrainian Army
Won’t Fight the Russians

 By Jim Berlin

The Ukrainian army and police have yet to raise a finger or fire a single shot in defense of their country against the Russian invaders, and I may know the reason why.

Flashback to the Serb Republic, Bosnia, a Monday morning in ’98. I awake to frantic pounding on the farmhouse door and there stands Sergei, my 23-year-old Ukrainian patrol partner. His eyes are red, uniform disheveled, a weekend’s growth of beard. He is frantic.

“Do you have wodka?” He asks.

“Have what?”

“Wodka, damn it! I’m out of wodka.”

“No, I don’t drink vodka.”

“They sell wodka at the Czech fort,” Sergei says. “I have a map. You drive, okay?”

I patiently explain to Sergei that the Czech fort is 70 kilometers away, most of it over bad road, some of it through unfriendly neighborhoods.

“I’m out of wodka,” he says. The discussion is over.

Two hours later I find the front gate of the Czech compound and pull to the side as several armored vehicles leave the fort. Sergei rushes into the soldiers’ PX and returns minutes later with three liters of vodka. He is cracking one of the bottles as he walks.

I start the UN truck, but Sergei has second thoughts and tells me to wait. He races back into the fort and returns with two more liters of his life’s blood. He is all smiles…

Now we go on patrol,” he says.

2 thoughts on “Why the Ukrainian Army
Won’t Fight the Russians

  1. That was an interesting story. It made me curious, so I looked up the World Health Organization’s global statistics on alcohol consumption. It does the survey every 5 years. Although the Ukrainians consume more alcohol than we do here in the US, their consumption appears to be comparable to the other European nations – less than Germany and the UK, more than the Scandinavian countries.

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