"We are just a bunch of like-minded Russian soldiers with a deep seated belief in the Right To Roam, and we find NATO's sabre-rattling deeply unsettling"
The above is a quote from Captain Alfred Wainritezev, a PR representative for the Western Army Group Ramblers Association [WAGRA], an organisation currently in the spotlight due to it's 2022 Jubilee Jamboree Ramble preparations being mistaken as aggressive posturing on the Ukrainian border.
"Our organisation was founded in 1922 by elements of the Red Army dedicated to the principle of rambling when we are off duty" continued Captain Wainritezev "Dig into our rucksacks and you will find our collapsible fiberglass walking poles, a 5kg slab of Kendall Mint Cake and a jaunty knitted bobble hat to slip on over our balaclavas- our members are always keen to strike off across the countryside at any available opportunity"
WAGRA's ambitious celebration endeavours to peaceably follow the route of the very first association ramble through what was then the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic : this original ramble commemorating the Peace of Riga that ended the Polish-Soviet war and led to the ultimate creation of the USSR. However, the current Ukrainian government is understandably reticent to permit 100000+ WAGRA members to roam across the east of the country on temporary visitors visas.
"OK, so we only originally intended for a handful of our members to take part, but so many have declared an interest that we had to open it to all, such was their enthusiasm" admitted Captain Wainritezev. When pressed about the concerns that all the ramblers seem to be armed, he pointed out that weapons are being carried 'for our own protection, Eastern Ukraine is a dangerous place at the moment', and the almost universal adoption of Russian battle dress merely illustrates 'the durability and comfort of current uniform stock for long distance hiking'.
The "JamboRamble" is due to finish in Kharkiv with a series of concerts and rallies, followed by a slap-up tea in Kyiv, then a quick pop over the border into Poland to catch the train home.