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Ukrainian troops are being armed in a quick but disorganized fashion

Yevgen Solonyna
Kyiv – The Ukrainian army received about 12 billion UAH from the special budget alone, this is its best financing ever, reports the Defense Ministry. However, while the Ministry reports on hundreds of restored and bought units of heavy weaponry and armored equipment, Ukrainian volunteers and experts assure that the army supply system is incredibly ineffective, and the important decisions are delayed because of bureaucracy. Volunteers conclude that they replace the state army support in many ways, however they admit that it is impossible to do so fully. 

Until mid-October, the Ukrainian army will receive over 140 units of new modern equipment, including tanks, BTR’s, aviation, part of which has already been received by the soldiers, stated director of the development and purchase of weaponry and military equipment of the Defense Ministry Ihor Odnoralov on September 11.

“It is not true that we are not giving weapons and equipment to the volunteer MIA battalions. As such, within the past months we have given them about 150 units of armored equipment, hundreds of heavy weaponry units, a certain amount of machine guns and ammunition. Our factories have foreign orders for Ukrainian armored equipment. And we reoriented them towards the domestic ones. We pay fines, but we have equipment, among which, for example, there are 9 new Oplot tanks. BTR’s for the army are made at the Kharkiv armored tank factory, as it produces a newer modification than the Kyiv factory.”

The director of the material resource supply department Oleksandr Inzhyevsky, on his part, says that the Armed Forces have 25 thousand modern bulletproof vests, which are enough for current combat in Donbas, and besides, they have purchased sleeping bags and new warm winter uniforms. All of this is mostly Ukrainian-produced, besides kevlar, which is imported, explained Oleksandr Inzhyevsky.

Meanwhile Defense Ministry representatives make excuses by saying that the Ukrainian army has been ruined and decreased for decades, not it is receiving good and stable financing, better than ever, but not enough time has passed to solve all problems.

Volunteers: where were the state bulletproof vests in June? 

Volunteer Olga Khudetska is participating in several projects to supply the Ukrainian servicemen in the east with everything they need. Olga explains that volunteers specialize on the things and equipment which the Defense Ministry and the MIA are unable or incapable of buying. That includes night-vision scopes and thermal vision equipment, modern spare parts for weaponry which make it more effective, simple food or everyday items.

According to her, the volunteer movement is powerful, but in its nature, it has no single center, therefore it cannot supply the army instead of the state.

“All high-technology equipment is bought first and foremost. The government will definitely not buy it, as it is not prescribed by the military unit statute. We do various things. The soldiers ask: wait with the color scopes, we need shoes. Later: shoes are good, but we need a car to do intelligence work. And so it goes. It is a good thing that there are enough bulletproof vests now (by the way, there are still not enough helmets). However, why weren’t there any in June, when the war had been going on for three months? The people gathered funds for the army using the 555 phone number, and the Defense Ministry bought mattresses and uniforms for the navy instead of armor and helmets!” Olga Khudetska complains.

She is calling for the command to take advantage of the period while the army is financed by volunteers to reform the commandment and provision for the Armed Forces. But if the volunteer movement is weakened, or the activists gather less funds, a collapse will occur within the law enforcement, predicts Olga Khudetska.

The Ukrainian army is lacking various provisions, but the most important ones are so-called smart ammunition (able to detect and hit the target by themselves), reliable communication systems and means of radio-electronic war, said military expert of the Institute of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Ihor Koziy to Radio Liberty.

According to him, to make the Ukrainian army more capable, it is necessary to immediately restore the equipment that can be found in stock, heighten production of modern equipment, in particular, fighter helicopters and drones. However, the Ukrainian army’s biggest problem is the imperfect system of government and planning, according to Ihor Koziy.

“Ask the government what sums they’re planning to spend and where in 2015. There is no such planning, as the situation changes very quickly. But all structures should work for the future. Why is it that civil society and volunteers are the ones shouting that the soldiers are lacking warm clothing, and only then do they start buying it? Today our Cabinet of Ministers is unable to make such plans,” concludes Koziy.

Earlier, leader of volunteer group Wings Phoenix Yury Biriukov numerously stated on social media and in interviews with journalists that the problems with army provisions occur because someone is sabotaging the reinforcement of defense, and because the leadership of the force and army structures is ‘reckless.’ This volunteer and others like him who help the army and law-enforcement, admit that important decisions are delayed because of elementary bureaucracy: as such, some papers spent many weeks wondering between offices.


Source: Radio Liberty

Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina

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