The Russian site Ukraina.ru published a story this week claiming that Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko invited separatist militants from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics to join the Ukrainian armed forces.
The Donetsk People’s Republic website also disseminated this fake story,while Russia’s federal information agency Rosbalt went even further, announcing that Ukraine called on the separatists to turn themselves in together with tanks and APCs.
What Lysenko actually said is quite different from what Russian media claims.
The Ukrainian military has launched a program called “They’re waiting for you at home” which allows those separatist militants who have had a change of heart and have not committed crimes to return home to their families and be rehabilitated.
It wouldn’t be bad to launch another project, Lysenko writes on his Facebook page, one, in which any militant who transfers a tank, an APC or another piece of military hardware to the Ukrainian side could be either acquitted by a court or have his sentence reduced and receive a monetary reward, as Ukrainian soldiers do each time they capture a piece of enemy hardware.
Lysenko sees many advantages in such a program, it would accelerate the end of the conflict and save resources. “The militant saves his life, gets good money and saves the life of our men who could be injured with this equipment, deprives the enemy of a piece of equipment and a specialist to operate it and the Ukrainian side gets a free piece of equipment. Six – in one” – says Lysenko.
These musings are nothing more than Lysenko’s wishful thinking, they are not official Ukrainian military policy. Furthermore, nowhere in the post does Lysenko ask separatist militants to serve in the Ukrainian armed forces.