Article by: Zhanna Bezpyatchuk
A professional army of 100-150 thousand people and well-prepared and trained reserve troops for the Armed Forces and the National Guard of 500 thousand – these are the numbers that are supposed to be outlined in the new draft of the Ukrainian Military Doctrine, according to the Military Council of People’s Front party. The conception offered by this political part emphasizes the construction of militarized security and defense on Ukraine’s eastern borders, educating people on civil defense during school years, the usage of the Swiss experience in forming the army reserve and the creation of special ops forces under the umbrella of the MIA. The National Guard would be called to not only ensure internal order, but cover Ukraine’s eastern borders together with the border servicemen.
All of these proposals are based on Ukraine not being a NATO member, however, this party sees its middle-term prospect in Ukraine seeking its place in collective security systems, including the alliance.
Information Resistance group head, member of the Military Council of People’s Front and number 13 on its electoral list Dmytro Tymchuk emphasizes that today the defense of Ukraine cannot be governed by a single structure – coordination and effective cooperation on part of the army, special ops and intelligence is important, together with the simultaneous preparation of the entire population of the country to action under conditions of military aggression.
“We have to be prepared for asymmetric responses to the threat of Russian aggression. We include the militarization of Ukraine into this definition first and foremost, which means the preparation of the population to rebuke military aggression,” the military expert emphasized.
Avakov: volunteer battalions will become part of the special ops
Minister of Internal Affairs, member of People’s Front Military Council and number 6 on the ballot Arsen Avakov emphasizes that the new military doctrine will provide a special place for volunteer battalions of the Ukrainian MIA. According to the minister, they may become part of the new single military special ops department, which will be created on the basis of already-existing departments within the framework of the MIA’s reform.
“A big number of volunteer battalions that are involved in the ATO zone today will constitute the basis of this special ops department, thus beginning a reform in the MIA system. These changes will be positioned as the basis for any other changes. A big number of the best-prepared fighters will go to the National Guard of Ukraine. They will improve their professionalism within the special ops forces,” the Minister explained.
‘The Wall’ should not be deadly – Avakov
Arsen Avakov did not forego mentioning ‘The Wall’ project at the border with Russia. The Minister emphasizes that is should only be constructed along the border between Ukraine and Russia, as defined by international conventions. The line of conflict between the Ukrainian military and the illegal ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ armed formations will not be viewed at a line for ‘The Wall.’
“We will definitely not view the Ukrainian border as the line of conflict, which is currently surrounded by the peace process. It is important on principle. I am saying this as a Minister, a politician and a citizen. If we agree to the new border, it is unacceptable, then we will have lost everything,” the Minister said.
He admitted that Ukraine does not control 235 kilometers of the Russian-Ukrainian border in the current situation. According to Arsen Avakov, about 1,5 thousand of kilometers of the border with the Russian Federation now demand special attention.
The head of the MIA explained what the ‘Wall’ should be, in his opinion: “Will this ‘Wall’ be deadly, like in the movies, no it will not. It is impossible to build it in such a way. The U.S. and Mexico – that’s an example of cooperation along the wall. They examined various options, very expensive ones, they constructed a concrete wall which was five meters tall. It was 3-5 kilometers long, then they understood it was ineffective. We need to find a balance of efficiency. It has to be a fence, but more so it is a system of control and counteraction.”
According to him, this Wall should be located on the line of maximum danger and aggression, where Ukraine has its key problems: the borders of Sumy, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
Kikhtenko: the military doctrine should be developed by an expert NSDC committee, not parties or the Defense Ministry
Army General, former command of the Internal Army Oleksandr Kikhtenko emphasizes that the new military doctrine of Ukraine should have an exclusively defensive nature and it should be developed not by political parties or the Defense Ministry, but by specially-trained scientific and analytic expert committees under the Ukrainian NSDC. The key aspect, according to the serviceman, is the development of professional reserve troops, as the state itself cannot guarantee security and defense with the help of the army.
“The army is nothing. Military organization is everything. Not a single army can exist without reserve troops. They should include state and human resources,” Oleksandr Kikhtenko thinks.
Syrotiuk: Ukraine needs lustration in the Armed Forces, full rearmament and NATO membership
Member of CU Svoboda, member of the parliamentary committee for national security and defense Yury Syrotiuk authored 10 laws that deal with the defense sphere of the country. He recently proposed to the verkhovna rada a bill ‘on the conception of the creation of a defense-capable Ukrainian state and society.’
The member of the Parliament proposes to organize Ukraine’s defense on territorial principles: all men between 20 and 30 years of age, besides serving in the army, have to undergo training in the territorial defense unit in their oblast on an annual basis and belong to the ‘official reserve.’ After reaching the age of 30, they will belong to the ‘national reserve.’ Svoboda also stands for a full rearmament of the army, Ukrainian membership in the NATO in the middle-term perspective and raising the issue of renewing Ukraine’s nuclear status on a diplomatic level. Yury Syrotiuk considers ‘The Wall’ to be a promotional move.
“As to the protection of the state border, not a single ‘Wall’ will help. It is a PR project. There should be system of fortification constructions, a mining system and the creation of military localities akin to those Russia has in front of the Caucasus. The financing of the Armed Forces should in the short-term perspective constitute no less than 5% of the GDP before full rearmament and 3% in times of peace. The key to the army is lustration in the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Yury Syrotiuk explains.
The Cabinet of Ministers ordered the Defense Ministry to develop the new Military Doctrine before December 2015.