The Washington Post did a piece yesterday on the largely civilian supplies being donated from Lithuania and Poland, trucked down to an official/unofficial crossing point on the Ukrainian border and handed off to the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force (TDF).
“I heard they needed bigger vehicles and four-wheel drives,” said Dainius Navikas, 43, a Vilnius management consultant who immediately thought of his black 2015 Grand Cherokee. “I had no choice. The Ukrainians are fighting for us.” Navikas and his wife drove the Jeep, along with an extra set of winter tires, to a designated garage on the outskirts of the Lithuanian capital. They found a lot packed with dozens of vehicles ready to be processed and shipped to Ukraine.
Then the donated vehicles get a check. Working overnights and weekends, mechanics check the engines; they send the vehicles to transmission or brake shops if needed. Armor plating is welded to some of the pickups, following specifications provided by the soldiers. They also paint the vehicles to cover all reflective surfaces and the entire vehicle with dull green or olive. One of the staff involved noted all Europe is selling out of the other supplies including body armor and requested medical supplies.
Lt. Bystriyk, with the Zaporizhzhia Territorial Defense Brigade, had just endured his own all-night drive to reach the rendezvous. His was one of about 20 Ukrainian units, both regular military and volunteer militia, that had dispatched representatives to meet the convoy.
Bystriyk had driven about 11 hours from the area around the besieged city of Dnipro in eastern Ukraine in hopes of getting vehicles and an upgrade on the body armor that most of his men now wear: homemade vests cobbled together by local residents with steel and canvas. “They try to bend it like a body shape, but it doesn’t work,” he said.
It would take about 3,000 sets of body armor to fully outfit his men, Bystriyk said. He had been told he might get as many as 400 when the second convoy arrived. In the meantime, he eagerly eyed the vehicles that were carried by the first one. “Stingers and Javelins are critical, of course,” he said of the antiaircraft and antitank missiles. “But for us, these vehicles are essential. They are our firepower, our mobility.”
Ukrainian soldiers drove them to a spot where border officials would fill out paperwork and then the vehicles would be distributed. One soldier made a beeline for a brand new CForce quad ATV, to be used in cavalry-like raids by Ukrainian special forces, and rode off with a grin.
Bystriyk looked for a truck that his men could mount with a rocket launcher or machine gun, creating one of the “specials” common among fighters in Libya, Syria and other recent hot spots. There weren’t as many pickups as in a delivery a week earlier, but he was glad to see Pathfinders, Freelanders, Pajeros. Videos posted by Ukrainian fighters on social media show teams in SUVs like these outmaneuvering Russian armored vehicles, popping out from forests or side streets to hit them with rocket-propelled grenades and dashing away. “Every day the Russians try to enter Zaporizhzhia and every day we have stopped them,” Bystriyk said. “We need these cars. And we are thankful the Lithuanians are bringing them.”
In the end, Bystriyk was satisfied with a beefy Nissan Patrol to drive back to the war. But he learned that the convoy with the vests and helmets would be delayed because of a customs hang-up. He would be back at this unlikely supply site, he knew. Probably many times. “We need a lot,” he said. “And the need is still growing.”
Comment: This is a perfect example of the strategy of national resistance becoming international among the frontline states. It’s a melding of the civilian population with the voluntary fighting formations, like the Ukrainian TDF, working with the national governments and their regular armed forces… national resistance in action.
In another thread, different clue asked “What if all the one-time ” middle” European countries were to think of forming a Council of Greater East Europe? From the Baltic to the Black Sea?” It’s already being discussed among the frontline countries from Finland to the Baltics, Poland and Ukraine. This would be outside of NATO. As long as this alliance is based on mutual aid and a strict policy of national resistance, I could see it as a real plus for the region. They could fly a “Fu*k around and find out” banner on the Russian borders. But how will NATO handle those dual alliance countries?