Ukrainians quietly train for an insurgency

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

Ukrainian armed forces are still putting up a valiant fight on all fronts, but there’s a growing concern both inside the country and among international observers that the Russian invasion of Ukraine could soon enter a new phase of siege warfare and even more widespread assaults on civilian populations, including the potential false flag use of a dirty bomb or a biological attack that the Russians would try to pin on the Ukrainians themselves.

The general assessment is that things are likely to get much worse before they get better for the people of Ukraine, but as New/Lines magazine news director Michael Weiss recently reported, the Ukrainians are already prepping for an insurgency if the Ukrainian government led by Volodymyr Zelensky is toppled.

The Resistance Movement liaises with the Ukrainian military, law enforcement and the territorial defense (akin to the National Guard), but it is not formally integrated into the nation’s current command structure — with an emphasis on “formally.”

According to Anton, 250 fighters have fanned out all around Kyiv, but 800 more are embedded in different units of Ukraine’s armed forces or territorial defense, fighting to keep the Russians out of the capital.

“If these units are destroyed or moved back,” he says, “they will remove their fatigues, put on civilian clothing and become insurgents that very day. They can operate autonomously, with their own resources, and make life a living hell for the invaders. Morale is extremely high.”

Not only that, the Resistance Movement has apparently fielded any number of scouts, informants and civilian reconnaissance teams, including, Anton says, “little old ladies and old men with canes, who watch the enemy’s movements and then call in their location.”

We’ve written quite a bit about the relaxing of gun control laws and the arming of Ukrainian civilians in the lead up to Russia’s invasion, but since the war began it’s been difficult to determine what kind of impact the armed citizenry is having on the the Russian military itself. According to Weiss and his source “Anton,” who is described as being the “second-in-command of a Ukrainian insurgency-in-waiting,” the insurgency is already operating in a limited capacity, but the training of future insurgents is also taking place alongside the active defense of Ukrainian sovereignty.

More potential guerrillas are being produced daily. “We have two training camps, one in central Ukraine, one in western Ukraine,” Anton says. “We teach our fighters how to stop a tank, how to bomb it, how to burn out Russian vehicles. We’ve been instructing people for the last seven days.”

Six hundred are being trained collectively in both camps: “They train in masks, so no one knows anyone else’s identity. In case one person is captured, he cannot lead the Russians to anyone else.”

One fascinating detail from Weiss’s report? The resistance movement that Anton is a part of has been around in some capacity since at least 2019, when opponents of Zelensky decided they needed to have the basic structure of an insurgent movement. Zelensky campaigned and was elected on the pledge to end the conflict that has been raging in Eastern Ukraine since 2014 and to negotiate with Putin on a potential loss of territory. In fact, the original name of the group that Anton is associated with was originally called the Capitulation Resistance Movement.

We established this movement to fight in the event Russia was formally handed Crimea and the occupied areas of Donbas,” Anton says. Over time, Zelenskyy came to see it much the same way, and his heroic leadership since the start of the war — and refusal to agree to a U.S.-offered evacuation from Kyiv — has only impressed those who organized in defiance of his campaign promises.

“At the moment,” Anton says, “we have no doubts about Zelenskyy. He seems very strong. We are all shocked in a good way.”

“We removed the ‘Capitulation’ from our name because as of right now, no one is talking about it. The entire nation is concentrated on fighting these dickheads.”

It really is amazing to see how the country has unified around Zelensky, whose approval ratings were mired in Joe Biden territory before the Russian invasion. Then again, Zelensky’s perceived weakness towards Russia was one of the biggest drags on his approval, but over the past two weeks the Ukrainian president has repeatedly demonstrated his resolve and the resolve of the Ukrainian people. Putin was expecting the country’s population to greet the Russian troops with open arms, or at the very least roll over and accept their fate, but instead it looks like the Ukrainians resistance has only just begun, and the nation’s newly-armed citizens are in this fight for the long haul.