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This is not a music competition. These are American and British war veterans who formed a team to train Ukrainian special forces commandos to counter the Russian mercenaries.

A Mozart Group instructor during a session with a new group of recruits at the organization’s training camp in Donbas, Ukraine. (Gen. Mozart Group)

In the heart of Donbas, the rich industrial and coal region of eastern Ukraine, where the conflict with the occupying Russian forces intensified, a group of highly experienced western veterans conduct an intensive training course 10 days for 40 new Ukrainian soldiers who will soon be on the front line.

Ukraine’s professional fighting force, which has been defending the eastern front since 2014, is exhausted and exhausted. Since February 24, when the invasion ordered by Vladimir Putin began, defense tiers increasingly require more experienced warriors . But all they get is volunteers with little or no military training. There was an urgent need to create a training group of soldiers and officers.

Watchful eye Andrew “Andy” Milburn, a retired Marine Corps colonel who spent 31 years in the U.S. Army , when he came to Kiev voluntarily, immediately noticed this flaw. He contacted former colleagues with whom he had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other battlefields, and sought out other experienced military friends from the UK, Ireland, and South Africa. With private funding, they decided to assemble a team of volunteers and soon a perfect name emerged that defined them: Grupo Mozart. This is a cynical reference and is against the Wagner Group, a notorious Russian mercenary group created by the Kremlin and financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to Putin. Milburn sings at first “was a little hesitant to use the name” but now it has “become a brand”.

Andrew, a retired Marine Corps colonel who spent 31 years in the US Army, creator of the Mozart Group
The creator of the Mozart Group is retired Marine Corps colonel Andrew “Andy” Milburn, who spent 31 years in the US Army. (Court. Mozart Group)
In an interview with Florida’s public radio and television WUSF, Milburn said he was confident that Russia would attack Ukraine and was in Kiev on the day of the invasion as a journalist covering the war for a dedicated site, Task & Purpose. “I wanted to see what was going on, but I knew I couldn’t be there officially as a soldier. I put on the war correspondent shirt and it didn’t take long. If you’re in the military for 31 years, you’ll die in your boots. That’s why there was a great need in the training of junior officers and I decided to help wherever possible,” explained Milburn.

He had recently retired from the US Army. it was First US Navy to lead a special operations force during the war against ISIS , in the Islamic State, Syria and Iraq. His specialty is elite commandos. And the kind of unity he’s trying to strengthen in Ukraine. “The Russians are very good at building their defensive lines. And very inept on offense. They mine the entire area immediately around them to avoid massive attacks and start firing cannonballs at close range. to counter this special commandos are needed, small units that use intelligence to approach the Russians and attack them by surprise ”, Milburn commented on the site Forces.net.

Few of the 20,000 foreign volunteers who joined the Ukrainian army in this nearly six-month war have adequate military training. “Many lied about their backgrounds and were sent to the front without further training. They also did not have the appropriate equipment. They lacked almost everything, from drones to bulletproof vests to radios and medical kits,” says the former colonel. established a network of suppliers of military supplies and weapons that helped finance the operation . “This makes us completely different from what the Wagner Group is doing,” Milburn says.

The Wagner Group militia, made up of mercenaries who supported Kremlin policies during the Russian occupation of Donetsk.

Wagner Group has been operating in countries such as Syria, Libya and the Central African Republic since 2014, protecting the interests of Russia, regardless of human rights or international law. “I don’t want to be associated with or compared to these people. We are not a substitute for the Wagner Group; What we do is very different.” Milburn told The Guardian in an interview from the training base. It is known that the Mozart Group is largely funded by private US donors, and also consists of carefully selected volunteers who deliver humanitarian aid, including medical supplies and food, to frontline populations and assist vulnerable people on the battlefields.

Ukrainian soldiers at the training center five or ten day intensive courses in basic weapon handling, marksmanship, fire and battlefield maneuvers and tactics Under ideal conditions it takes six months to teach. Trainers between the ages of 20 and 30 alternately communicate with recruits through two interpreters. They have already trained about 2,500 Ukrainian fighters and 300 special forces officers. those who attend a special course that lasts about six weeks.

In another interview with the New York Times, Milburn cited fears that the presence of military advisers in the United States would involve the country in another war. . This was the situation in South Vietnam in 1961, a few years before full military intervention, where the US presence was limited to an “advisory group”. “There’s nothing in what we do that goes against US Ukraine policy,” he says.


Members of the Mozart Group evacuate the wounded in southern Ukraine. (Gent. Mozart Group)
George Beebe, a former CIA analyst and director of the Quincy Institute for International Policy, believes actions like Milburn’s could be potentially dangerous. “As in Vietnam, the risk is that we’re deepening the issue, one small step at a time.” He told the NYT. “The difference is that the stakes are higher in Ukraine. It could easily trigger a direct confrontation with enormous gravity between the US and Russia.”

And the traumatic US intervention in Vietnam It began in 1955 with a group of 300 soldiers training South Vietnamese fighters in response to what some Washington officials called “a minor civil war” at the time. “Gradually, the United States deployed more troops and more firepower, making decisions that at the time seemed not only reasonable but necessary,” Beebe said. Instructors began to accompany the South Vietnamese detachments on missions, then support them with aviation. And gradually more soldiers were sent, finally, The 1964 incident in the Gulf of Tonkin directly led to the United States declaring war. . It all ended in disaster, with 58,000 Americans killed before they could reach any strategic goal. And they left two million Vietnamese, 300,000 Cambodians and 60,000 Laos to die. “I’m not saying that climbing is automatic in Ukraine,” Beebe said. “But the danger is that we’re starting to cross the red lines before we even know where they are.”

A battalion of American soldiers during the Vietnam War. There are fears in Washington that advisers in Ukraine could push the country for another military intervention. (US army).

Retired U.S. Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Perry Blackburn, who served in uniform for 34 years in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia and Jordan. He believes that the situation in Ukraine is incomparable to that in Vietnam . And “the United States has no choice but to respond to Russia’s aggression.” Blackburn joined him as soon as he learned that his old comrade Milburn was training soldiers on the Ukrainian front. “They are destroying entire cities, killing civilians indiscriminately. If that’s not escalation, what is?” he told the NYT. “I don’t see it being like the years before Vietnam. To me, it’s more like the years before the Second World War. When people look back, they’re going to wonder why we didn’t do more.”

Danger to Analyst Beebe Shared by many in the Pentagon and the White House But until now, no one objected to the fact that ex-soldiers like Milburn and Blackburn independently helped the Ukrainians. So far, official statistics show that Two former marines killed, two prisoners of war, one missing in operation and 21 injured in Ukraine . War also takes away his magic. Names like Wagner and Mozart used in Ukraine for purposes they would instinctively reject .

Source: Info Bae

August 7, 2022

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