Ukraine’s volunteer fighters trained to ‘find mental peace’ – NYT
More than 100 members of the Territorial Defense Forces learned to practice meditation before combat, the paper reports
Ukrainian soldiers are trained to ‘find mental peace’ on the battlefield and practice meditation while the conflict rages in their country, the New York Times has reported, citing one of Kiev’s military commanders.
According to the outlet, dozens of members of the volunteer Territorial Defense Forces take part in the exercise at a camp in an unspecified location in Ukraine, which was set up shortly before Moscow’s attack on the nation in late February. Thousands of civilians have been trained there since the outbreak of hostilities.
“Meditation is mutual training,” Andrey Andreykiv, a Ukrainian military commander who works there as instructor, told the outlet. “It brings stability to all the challenges and also to the opportunities we have in different situations. We presume that during a military mission a soldier needs to be focused, not be afraid, keep calm. He must be composed.”
Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces, a branch of Kiev’s armed forces, offer volunteers the opportunity to join the fight and consists of part-time reservists, usually former combat veterans. For now, these troops sometimes form a second line behind regular army units.
According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, since its inception, the Territorial Defense Forces have grown rapidly and “have been playing an important role in the conflict with Russia.” The force, however, has sustained some losses, according to a statement from the ministry.
“The explosive growth of the structure, especially in conditions of intense combat, is a huge experience, [with] mistakes and achievements. There are successes and, unfortunately, losses,” the ministry said in May.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.