Elsewhere online
December 19, 2014

Charities Pop Up in Ukraine to Help Under-Equipped Troops

Hundreds of volunteer groups across Ukraine are raising money and providing food, clothes, and other supplies for poorly armed and ill-equipped soldiers fighting pro-Russian separatists in the country's east, Bloomberg reports. Along with small charities mounting campaigns on social media, Ukrainian business leaders are also raising money and making donations to support military units.

The Ukrainian army, 900,000-strong when the Soviet Union broke up, has shrunk to as few as 128,000 soldiers, and its readiness has been further degraded by years of corruption and incompetent leadership, officials and experts say. Using decades-old tanks and weapons and short of everything from bulletproof vests to socks and gloves, troops have struggled to gain the upper hand in the now 10-month-old conflict, which has killed some 900 soldiers and 4,600 civilians.