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Ukraine’s Guerrilla War Against Russia Is Making Putin Pay a High Price

Russia Ukraine
Soldiers with the Ukrainian army’s 1st Battalion, 95th Separate Airmobile Brigade train with a DShK 12 mm machine gun during their training cycle at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center on the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv, Ukraine on Sept. 6. Yavoriv CTC Observer Coach Trainers, along with mentors from the Polish army and the U.S. Army's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, led the training for soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 95th Separate Airmobile Brigade during the battalion's rotation through the Yavoriv CTC. The 45th is deployed to Ukraine as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to improving the CTC's training capacity and building professionalism within the Ukrainian army. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric McDonough, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

The War in Ukraine Takes an Interesting Turn: Ukrainian opposition—by both violent and non-violent means—to the Russian occupation continues.

In the period from July 6 to August 2, at least 33 resistance incidents occurred. Of these, 17 involved acts of non-violent protest, while 16 involved violence against persons or property. The most such incidents occurred in Kherson province, where the Ukrainian armed forces are preparing a counter-offensive. Nine incidents took place in the Donbas; four apiece in Zaporizhzhya province and the Crimea; one in Kharkiv province.

Occupied Crimea’s addition to the list is a significant change from previous months. It may portend growing self-confidence on the part of Russia’s opponents on the peninsula and could play an important role in mobilizing resistance if Ukraine decides to recapture Crimea.

July 6, Kherson: bomb explosion near railroad station, ammunition dump destroyed.

July 6, Severodonetsk, Luhansk province: leaflets opposed to Chechen armed units appear in the city.

July 8, Nova Kakhovka, Kherson province: collaborator Serhii Tomko, deputy head of local police force, shot and killed.

July 9, Nova Kakhovka: pro-Ukrainian signage appears in city.

July 10, Sevastopol, occupied Crimea: anti-Russia leaflets appear in city.

July 11, Velykyy Burluk, Kharkiv province: collaborator Yevhen Yunakov assassinated in car-bombing.

July 11, Kherson: bomb disarmed, intended to kill collaborator Volodymyr Saldo, head of Russian-controlled province administration.

July 11, Zaporizhzhya province: shots fired at collaborationist head of Melitopol district administration, Andrii Sihuta.

July 11, Sudak, occupied Crimea: a group of Russian soldiers assaulted by local residents, possibly Crimean Tatars, with one Russian being severely beaten.

July 11, Simferopol, occupied Crimea; Kherson; Melitopol, Zaporizhzhya province: Yellow Ribbon resistance movements emerges.

July 12, Kherson province: Col. Aleksei Avramchenko shot and killed, possibly by partisans.

July 14, Mariupol, Donetsk province: “Satelit” plant set on fire.

July 16, Kherson: blue-and-yellow ribbons appear in city.

July 16, probably Sevastopol, occupied Crimea: wanted posters appear, offering $15,000 for information on or “liquidation” of Captain Anatoly Varochkin, who ordered the July 14th missile strikes on civilians in Vinnytsia.

July 20, Mariupol, Donetsk province: pro-Ukrainian leaflets appear in city.

July 20, Kherson and Berdyansk, Zaporizhzhia province: anti-Russian graffiti appears in both cities.

July 21, Kherson: pro-Russian billboard defaced, anti-Russian graffiti appears, Ukrainian flag hoisted in public place.

July 22, Kherson: pro-Ukrainian leaflets and graffiti appear in city.

July 22, Mariupol, Donetsk province: Ukrainian national symbol appears in city center.

July 23, Kherson: pro-Russian banners defaced.

July 25, Chaplynka, Kherson province: pro-Ukrainian symbols appear in village.

July 25, Berdyansk, Zaporizhzhya province: explosion near Pivdenhidromash plant, possibly the work of the resistance.

July 27, Kherson: one collaborationist policeman killed, one wounded in car bomb explosion.

July 27, Kherson province: partisans kill “group of occupiers.”

July 28, Kherson: partisans distribute leaflets urging population to leave city in advance of Ukrainian offensive.

July 29, Sevastopol, occupied Crimea: anti-Russian posters appear in city.

July 29, Kherson: pro-Ukrainian signs appear in city.

July 29, Mariupol, Donetsk province: Nemesis resistance group sets fire to grain fields to prevent Russian confiscation of grain.

July 30, Kherson: Yellow Ribbon resistance movement offers rewards for information on planned Russian events.

July 30, Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhya province: several explosions in front of hotel housing Russian troops; at least six wounded. Possibly the work of the resistance.

July 30, Svyatove, Luhansk province: partisans destroy rail signaling and communications devices.

August 1, Krasne, Kherson province: Russian flag above the village council building burned; pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian graffiti written on door.

August 2, occupied Crimea: anti-Russian leaflets appear.

August 2, Luhansk: provincial governor, Serhii Hayday, claims Luhansk partisans have destroyed vital infrastructure.

August 2, Troitske, Luhansk province: anti-Russian leaflets appear.

The Berdyansk Partisan Army continues to distribute calls for information regarding Russian troop movements and collaborators on its Telegram site. Interestingly, two more organized groups have emerged: Yellow Ribbon, in Simferopol, Kherson, and Melitopol; and Nemesis, in Kherson. Their emergence may herald growing involvement in guerrilla activities by Ukrainians and growing coordination between the resistance and the armed forces.

Expert Biography: Now a 1945 Contributing Editor, Dr. Alexander Motyl is a professor of political science at Rutgers-Newark. A specialist on Ukraine, Russia, and the USSR, and on nationalism, revolutions, empires, and theory, he is the author of 10 books of nonfiction, including Pidsumky imperii (2009); Puti imperii (2004); Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires (2001); Revolutions, Nations, Empires: Conceptual Limits and Theoretical Possibilities (1999); Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine after Totalitarianism (1993); and The Turn to the Right: The Ideological Origins and Development of Ukrainian Nationalism, 1919–1929 (1980); the editor of 15 volumes, including The Encyclopedia of Nationalism (2000) and The Holodomor Reader (2012); and a contributor of dozens of articles to academic and policy journals, newspaper op-ed pages, and magazines. He also has a weekly blog, “Ukraine’s Orange Blues.”

Written By

Dr. Alexander Motyl is a professor of political science at Rutgers-Newark. A specialist on Ukraine, Russia, and the USSR, and on nationalism, revolutions, empires, and theory, he is the author of 10 books of nonfiction, including Pidsumky imperii (2009); Puti imperii (2004); Imperial Ends: The Decay, Collapse, and Revival of Empires (2001); Revolutions, Nations, Empires: Conceptual Limits and Theoretical Possibilities (1999); Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine after Totalitarianism (1993); and The Turn to the Right: The Ideological Origins and Development of Ukrainian Nationalism, 1919–1929 (1980); the editor of 15 volumes, including The Encyclopedia of Nationalism (2000) and The Holodomor Reader (2012); and a contributor of dozens of articles to academic and policy journals, newspaper op-ed pages, and magazines. He also has a weekly blog, “Ukraine’s Orange Blues.”

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