Lviv – The Western border of Ukraine is being protected, the Eastern one, however, requires defence. However, according to experts, Ukrainian border service workers are unable to protect the borders by themselves. One of the reasons is the lack of organisation of action of ATO forces and the border workers. This was stated during a video conference between Lviv and Donetsk experts at the local press club.
There is no military equipment or fences along the almost 1200 km western Ukrainian border with EU countries – Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania. The protection of the border is conducted in cooperation with western states. In the recent months, control has been increased and they are checking Russian citizens entering Ukraine through Europe much more thoroughly.
“59 citizens of Russia were denied entry to Ukraine because they could not explain the reasons for their visit. We have all the necessary means to protect the border, we have modern means to expose violators,” explains Gennadiy Torop, head of the department of border control and registry of the headquarters of the Western regional headquarters.
It is difficult to imagine when crossing, say, the calm Ukrainian-Polish border, that on Eastern territories the Ukrainian border workers are forced not to protect but to wage war, defending the border. To wit, there are only two border workers for each kilometre of the border.
Contraband from Russia continues?
Part of the border workers from western regions were sent to Kharkiv and Luhansk Oblasts. However there has to be more rotation, emphasises an expert from Donetsk, former border worker Volodymyr (his name was changed for security reasons). According to him, the Ukraine-Russia border is open for separatists, which enter Ukrainian territory without any problems, therefore it is necessary to make cooperation between border workers and separatists impossible.
“The border workers have to be doubled with the military. If there were roadblocks, aviation, modernised brigades, then the 40 KamAZ’s with armed mercenaries would not be able to break through to Donetsk oblast. Since April 1st it has been said that Putin will not stop. We don’t understand in Donetsk why the government has done so little in this time. Border workers are a military service, they have to defend the country. Why has the Russian border not been closed? Contraband continues,” says Donetsk expert Volodymyr.
There is no join action between the ATO and border workers
According to the former border worker, who emphasised that the majority of Donetsk citizens think this way, the actions of the central government are not comprehensive to the people, nobody is working with the local population.
“So whom should one notify if they see armed mercenaries? Or if they see the enemy’s vehicles in Donetsk, whom do they call? The contact phone numbers of the MIA and SSU don’t work, there is no universal centre. So whom is the current government leaning on if there is no cooperation with the population?” Asks Volodymyr.
The border works not only have insufficient equipment, but there is also an absence of join action with the soldiers of the anti-terrorist operation, law enforcement, thinks Vitali Yurchuk, a Lviv expert of the Centre of Investigation for Regional and International Cooperation.
“The state border service does not have an operative reaction force. There is no effective connection with the ATO forces. They exchange information via text messages… Only 25% of the funds were given for the needs of equipping the border in recent years, therefore we cannot speak of efficiency. We have to build an entire wall between Russia and Ukraine, and this should have been clear back in 2009. However when the situation in Ukraine stabilises, we have to go from delimiting to demarkation of the border with Russia,” emphasised the expert.
It is also important to increase the salaries of border workers and soldiers, think Lviv and Donetsk, as the people are risking their lives while protecting the country.
Source: Radio Svoboda
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina