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Who is clothing the army: the state or the volunteers?

Valery Heletey
Article by: Yana Polyanska
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Kyiv – Ukraine is making an effort to hold on to the fragile ceasefire in Ukraine, therefore there are no plans for a fourth stage of mobilization yet, stated Defense Minister Valery Heletey. Meanwhile, according to the proverb, if you want peace, then prepare for war, the Defense Ministry and volunteers are making a joint effort to equip the army with the things they need for the winter. In particular, Heletey promises to give winter uniforms by the end of the week, he initiates the creation of a Volunteer Council and gives them access to money from the charity 565 Fund. Will this Defense Ministry plan provide warm boots and Kevlar helmets to the soldiers? 

Ukraine respects the ceasefire, however, it is difficult to predict how events in Donbas will develop further, stated Defense Minister Valery Heletey. Therefore, for the Ukrainian army not to get caught unawares by the winter, the Defense Ministry promises to ensure the soldiers in the ATO zone have everything they need by the end of the week.

“I mean the provision of all servicemen with the necessary things, starting with clothing: boots, hats, warm gloves, underwear. Firewood and coal. Fuel and oil materials and heaters,” he added.

Volunteers do not expect the state to help

The volunteers who came to meet with the Defense Ministry and Armed Forces General Headquarters, told the journalists in the corridors that they were not used to expecting assistance from the government were already looking for ways to buy all things necessary “cheaply and with no bribery.”

“The state is the body that is able but not always willing. The volunteers are the people who are willing but aren’t always able,” said one of the volunteers, head of the Civil Initiative Council Vadym Kodachyhov.

According to him, the most difficult thing is buying goods Ukraine does not produce, such as Kevlar helmets. Therefore, in order to forego long tender competitions, they are forced to look for suppliers among their acquaintances.

“We have already found boots here, our guys started making them, thermal underwear as well, unfortunately, we still buy helmets from Canada. But we are buying them at 160 dollars and not 300-400 like the state is trying. And we are ready to show it transparently, it is only necessary to use the funds collected by the state according to their purpose,” he added.

The Volunteer Council will decide what to spend 565 funds on

In order to coordinate the work of volunteers who are assisting in supplying the Ukrainian army, the Defense Ministry initiated the creation of an informal organization, the Volunteer Council. According to Minister Heletey’s plan, this will allow to equip the army faster, better and cheaper, as they were even able to buy several drones which are on sale in Israel with a special license.

“This body will coordinate all the volunteers. The volunteers who are part of the Council will not only be my eyes, but will become real advocates, as wherever I go they don’t always show me the bad things, I have to look for them myself. The volunteers are the best helpers,” he stated.

The volunteers will be given part of the budget funds as well as the funds gathered using the 565 hotline. Heletey said that the activists will engage in supplying medicine, clothing and military equipment. Later they can start talking about purchasing high-precision weapons, as “rank is needed for this,” he added.

Besides, Heletey said that the Defense Ministry was planning to delegate a group of Ukrainian volunteers to Georgia to gain experience in creating rehabilitation centers for war heroes.

The Defense Ministry of Ukraine received about 150 million UAH from natural and legal persons by means of 565 – Support the Ukrainian army. 60 million UAH are left.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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