Ukrainian Security Sector

Key security and defense challenges and risks in the second half of July 2019

The key events that will affect the security environment around Ukraine have once again taken place within the country. The number of landmark events reaches a record, the vast majority of them have a positive statehood context, but significant risks remain.

First of all, it is important to recognize that Russian information and psychological influences on the Ukrainian electorate and overt propaganda during the parliamentary election campaign did not work. It is quite obvious that the activities of the Kremlin's information machine were directed against Zelensky and his party personally. Moscow has been vigorously preventing the Servant of the People Party from taking a majority in parliament, and a powerful, concentrated power would emerge in Ukraine.

Moscow, which is most interested in creating chaos in Ukraine and using a military lever, has been defeated in recent presidential and parliamentary elections, and the Kremlin owner has been shocked by disappointment.

Also, despite the active opposition from Moscow, the starting positions of the "Ze team" proved to be brilliant. The Servant of People Party showed an absolute record of support throughout the history of an independent Ukraine, and even the new government does not even need allies in parliament to carry out its decisions. At the same time, according to political analysts, Zelensky's political force took the same votes in the parliamentary elections that he cast for him in the first round of the 2019 presidential election: 5,7 million Ukrainians then voted, and "People's Servant" - about 5,4 millions. This testimony is not so much the popularity of the "new political figure" as the expressively fairy-tale hopes for changes in a huge number of people and their clear reluctance to vote for the old government, which has compromised itself in the absence of results. That is why there has been a near-total loss of political mastodons in majority constituencies, which can be called the total purge of the political elite.

However, such a seemingly positive situation also has risks. In particular, journalist and political scientist Vitaly Portnikov wrote about the challenge quite successfully in his blog: “The results of the parliamentary elections of 2019 year show that Ukraine is still further from the model of the parliamentary-presidential republic than in 2010, when the Constitutional Court created an opportunity for Viktor Yanukovych to return to the presidential-parliamentary form of government. But the difference is noticeable. In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych usurped power. At 2019, everything happened because of the will of the people, without any usurpation and constitutional changes. ”

Finally, the potential risks also include governance issues within the government. Tilting toward mono-partyism, the pendulum of governance does not mean automatic absolute consent in government decision-making. The great diversity of the new "servants of the people" is certainly a great potential, but it is not a fact that their control will be unconditional.

Thus, in the new conditions, the biggest risks in the CDAC are the likely mistakes of President Zelensky and the delay of the new authorities in the implementation of reforms.

However, Ukraine is not only living by election results.

The other day, there has been a breakthrough in bilateral relations with the United States, and Kiev itself has come close to becoming an ally of Washington. The Ukrainian side is currently working on a contract to buy a large batch of lethal weapons in the United States, which could be implemented this year. The story of this ex-ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Valery Chaly, and, on the other hand, information from opk.com.ua about negotiations on the purchase of US F-16 by Ukraine could accelerate the rearmament of the country's defense forces.

The arsenal of successful special operations of the SBU should include the timely detention and arrest of a Russian tanker NEYMA, which was directly involved in the seizure of Navy military vessels in November 2018 in the Azov Sea.

Finally, the most significant and important positive news of the period was the cancellation of 112 Ukraine by the screening of so-called "untold stories of Ukraine" by Western Ukrainian phobic Oliver Stone. The possibility of applying sanctions to a television channel and opening criminal cases for the announcement of Oliver Stone's tape has made its case and has to some extent affected the people who carry out or are involved in special operations against Ukraine.

These and other events in the country made it possible to make a titular statement about the future of Ukraine. "If the new Ukrainian authorities are at their height, Moscow will have nothing to catch in Ukraine." These words belong to Igor Eidman, now a well-known Russian sociologist, publicist and author of Putin's System. And it's hard to disagree with them.

Transformation of threats?

30 In July, in a fresh issue of Voice of America, US experts expressed reservations about the possibility of Medvedchuk receiving the chair of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament. After all, the Opposition Platform - For Life won second place in the elections to the VRU. According to political analysts, Putin's godfather is "very smart and has a bad influence." So the best thing to do is isolate it as much as possible.

It is significant that I. Eidman already mentioned the other day: "I do not know who this man is - Medvedchuk, but Putin himself was the PR of his party." Whatever it is, it is worth paying close attention to the following fact: 13 percent of "Opposition Platform - For Life" percent in parliamentary elections - though Putin's actual loss in Ukraine, but also dangerous for Ukraine Kremlin baseline. Similarly, the natural increase in the threat of revenge has not been canceled by anyone, because Moscow will make maximum use of its "political" power in Ukraine to loosen the situation, create new risks and conduct "hybrid" operations within Ukraine.

In addition, attention should be paid to the extraordinary events surrounding the former head of state. In particular, the fifth President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is now featured in 11 productions (!) Opened by the State Bureau of Investigation. This information was confirmed by 30 head of department Roman Tube in his Telegram channel in July. Such a course of events, on the one hand, can increase the popularity of the authorities, but at the same time carries the risks of confrontation within the authorities and the exercise of "active resistance" by Poroshenko's political force. Regardless of the alleged abuse of the former president (as hinted by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in an interview with Ukrainian Truth 30 in July), the new government should maintain consistency and systematic action. One can only recall the hopes and disappointments that took place during the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, when loud affairs were scattered in the eyes of former "beloved friends" supporters.

Speaking about the transformation of risks, these include the likelihood of new societal breakdowns due to the emergence of new socio-political messages about the country's future and the dominance of new technologies in the political process. It is not necessary to write off the finally sent to the bench of the "old" Ukrainian elite, which is also not going to give up. On the whole, the further spread of populism, which filled the information space during the elections, can also be considered a serious threat..

Do not forget about the traditional military threats. The CDDA is convinced that a full-scale military operation to turn Ukraine into a politically controlled territory cannot be excluded from the agenda. Especially if there is a clear failure of Moscow's plan for revenge. Even more likely is the transformation of the Kremlin's subversive activities into power sabotage in various parts of Ukraine's territory. This scenario may involve various forms of destabilization of society, including the use of paramilitary groups and private military companies to intimidate the population and artificially generate refugee flows.. Finally, the escalation of the intensity of the existing war aimed at deliberately defeating the personnel of the defense forces is a viable option for the Kremlin. Moscow needs massive upheavals in Ukraine. The goal is the same - to turn the country into a vassal zone.

Risks for Ukraine in the International Arena

Many controversial events have taken place in the international arena as well. In particular, Valery Chaly informed that in the US, there was some concern about Ukraine's new government over some of its initiatives. “Now more attention has been paid not only to the form but also to the approaches of the new Ukrainian authorities. While there is a great deal of enthusiasm for the form in the US, there are ambiguous attitudes and some caution in the estimates to some specific steps. Therefore, the task of the authorities and diplomacy in the United States is to remove this precaution, ”the diplomat said. He added that the concern was related to the intentions of the new government to "luster all those who have held high public office for the last five years." According to Chalym, in the US it was seen as a lustration of people who "were on the Maidan, fought in the ATO, veterans who came to public office during difficult times, not just corrupt politicians and officials." In the story of the diplomat should refer to the phrase "authoritarian regime of Yanukovych", which, he said, is well remembered in the United States. And so, the conclusions of US analysts may lie in the awareness of certain risks of authoritarianism in Ukraine - in connection with the undisputed victory of one political force.

The other American message, by contrast, is extremely positive. Yes, 17 back then, Acting US Secretary of Defense (now Pentagon Chief) Mark Esper said he expects Ukraine to continue its security reforms. He added that he was ready to help Ukraine more. In fact, instead of the current program, the US Defense Office may offer comprehensive multi-year support to Ukraine in the field of defense and security.

Although Esper described the lengthy contracting and procurement processes that limit the ability to rapidly deploy weapons in the context of the USAI Support, he is a clear negative factor, but he also appreciated the possibility of approving Ukraine's multi-year assistance program security and defense.

It is doubtful whether the Kremlin managed to kill a wedge into NATO, in particular by arranging for the delivery of C-400 air defense systems. 18 July In this regard, the US formally initiated the process of excluding Turkey from the F-35 Fighter Production and Purchase Program. Later, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised Turkey's role in the alliance and expressed concern about Turkey's exclusion from the F-35 fighter program. The US sanctions on one of its key partners and the immediate response of the bloc leader to this suggest that the event is of great importance and has a negative resonance for all members of the alliance. Actually, the Turkish-American dispute over the backdrop of NATO letters (such as US admission to EU defense programs) and problems in reaching consensus testify to the degradation of alliance management and the likelihood of a split in the organization itself.

Finally, another major event: Ukrainian diplomats have achieved political support from the UN rostrum. Yes, Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom and Estonia, following a July 16 Security Council meeting on the Ukrainian "language law", released a joint statement made by the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations and the World Organization, Julian Braithwaite.

“We, as EU Member States, fully support the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and condemn Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. We urge Russia to unconditionally release all 24 military personnel illegally captured by 25 November during an incident near the Kerch Strait and return captured Ukrainian ships in accordance with the decision of the International Maritime Tribunal of 20 May ... We also continue to call on Ro . Such a text of the statement can be considered as a certain achievement and continuation of the implementation of gradual actions on the world opposition to the aggressive policy of the Putin Kremlin. In the future, under certain conditions, the consolidation of countries may lead to the formation of an anti-Putin coalition - following the example of the anti-Hitler coalition..

Protests in Moscow. Start Putin's ambitions destroyed?

The very demonstration in Russia (through the election to the Moscow City Council) and its brutal power dispersal are a clear reflection of the Russians' desire to change the system, fears of power by ordinary citizens and the willingness of the authorities themselves to suppress any freedom in the countries. Just like the former Soviet Union, Putin's Russia has begun to turn into an "axis of evil" in the eyes of the entire democratic world.

It should be added that in the elections in Moscow, the authorities did not allow any opposition candidates. According to media reports, only 12 thousand people went to the 10 millionth city to protest civil liberation, while a record number of protesters - 1100 - were detained in Russia. In addition, the enthusiastic opposition leader Navalny was poisoned directly in the prison cell. It is also significant that after the protests, the stunned Russian society shows complete obedience. Everything, like in Soviet times, has grown only the level of technology for repression ...

In this context, it is worth mentioning a specific sociological survey. Namely, more than a third of Russians do not want to see Putin as president after the 2024 year - notes a recent poll by the Levada Center. Analysis of the CSDC of this state of affairs, taking into account the reluctance of the intimidated population to participate even in sociological research and minimizing contacts with the authorities, leads to the conclusion that from 40 to 60% of Russians are already set against Putin, but understand the futility of resistance due to the lack of resistance to the machine of the state. The media only indicate that the Kremlin is discussing various options for how Putin may remain in power, including through the creation of a Union State with Belarus (under the Constitution, Putin is not eligible to run in the next 2024 presidential election.).

In general, most Ukrainians take for granted the fact that Russia will never cease to be an authoritarian state, but will remain an authoritarian monarchy, which allows the country to balance between geopolitical ambitions and domestic decline. "Russia fears for its security should Ukraine, in fact, begin to represent its territory to NATO troops. To prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, Russia is ready to fight. But not with Ukraine, but with NATO. " Expert Andriy Golovachev (30 July, Glavred) expressed such an interesting opinion. It is the basis, the basis of Russian geopolitical ideology, and at the same time a testimony to what artificial motivators are implanted in the minds of ordinary Russians.

If we mention the practical proofs of the implementation of this ideology, they constitute an almost continuous chain of events aimed at intimidating the West and demonstrating its ambitions. In particular, 30 In July, through the Izvestiya newspaper, the Kremlin informed the world that the Russian Air Force in the 2019 will conduct the most extensive training in its recent history on the territory of the Central Military District and other regions of the country. Particular attention should be paid to the fact that several important stages of maneuvers are planned in the Arctic: motor-firing crews will operate in the territory from Novaya Zemlya to Novosibirsk. Now the infrastructure is being prepared for the exercises, ports and moorings are being created for the transfer of troops. Izvestia told that a massive landing will take place as part of the development of one of the episodes of strategic exercises Center-2019. In the September maneuvers, units of several VAT brigades and divisions will participate. At the same time, it is significant that no combat operation with the landing of VAT has been successful since the beginning of this kind of troops in the 1930 of the USSR and the Russian Federation used the PDF as an assault ground component. In the same way, the Russian Federation continues the tradition of the USSR: to bluff at the expense of human lives in order to ensure the viability of the incumbent authorities and to fuel national chauvinism.

Another episode of the scale of Moscow's offensive activity is manifested in the south. Namely, since July 24, Russia has closed five areas in the Black Sea, the total area of ​​which is 118 thousand 570 km square, which is more than a quarter of its total area of ​​436 thousand 402 km square. This was reported by 30 in July with the Ukrainian Military Portal, citing data from international regulations for seafarers. It is again striking that in fact these areas overlap the conventional and recommended international maritime routes to Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Ukraine, almost blocking the maritime connection with these countries. However, there is no clear reason for the closure, part of the sites is described as "with dangerous navigation and danger of navigation", some are closed for combat training activities. In fact, the Russian Federation does not have so much ground and surface forces that there is a need to cover such an area in appropriate areas for carrying out a series of combat training activities. Observers also point out that the Russian Federation lacks the required number of vessels to control and cover the relevant areas to ensure the safety of navigation and, above all, fishing and individual fisheries, which may not always receive the relevant prescriptions in time.

Internal reforms

The new government has a clear sense and understanding of society's expectations of reform. Interestingly, the center of gravity of their training remains in the Radbezi. In this regard, the current NSDCU Secretary Oleksandr Danylyuk recently made some announcements regarding the reform of key sections - Ukroboronprom and SBU.

According to the NSDC Secretary, several things need to be reformed at Ukroboronprom: “The first is to change the management system. It is necessary to introduce normal corporate governance, a strong supervisory board with some management responsibility to it. That is, corporate governance existing in the private sector should be applied to Ukroboronprom. The second is enterprise optimization. We need to unify the model line. And that our own production is also concentrated. Why? Because when one business is fully incorporated, it's much easier to control quality, it's much easier to reduce costs, and so on. This is done in any private business. The same should happen in public business. ”

About preparation of the command of the Green reform of SBU Danylyuk reported the following. The reform of the SBU involves strengthening the counterintelligence department as well as the abolition of additional departmental functions related to the economic sphere and the fight against corruption. “The Security Service of Ukraine should become more powerful, but in one key area - counterintelligence. Also, the department will remove additional functions that are not specific to the SBU, in particular, the economic sphere and the fight against corruption, ”Danylyuk specified.

The announced reforms are extremely important as they meet the expectations of society and its civic institutions. And they should be the first practical result of the activity of the new government in the sphere of state transformation.

There are already practical achievements. In particular, on 17 in July the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine granted permission to export its military products to several private enterprises: "Interproinvest", "Ukrspetstekhnika" and "Ukrspetsystems". Unfortunately, while the procedure remains regulated, in particular, the work on obtaining a license for foreign economic activity of its own defense products, the holding company "Ukrspectehnika" started last year. However, it is possible that the first swallow can be a precondition for the expected and necessary transition to liberalization of the defense market in Ukraine.

Another decisive step was taken by the authorities in the second half of July. Thus, the Office of the President has declared his intention to create an international Russian-language channel, the purpose of which will be - "fight for the minds". In fact, it is about improving the weapons in the information war against hostile Russia. Experts on information impacts say that the most important factor in success may not be the language of the channel, but its content, strengthened. The banal translation of the news will not succeed, as Russia's southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, which have been captured by Russia, are infected by harmful Russian narratives, the ideas of these people are influenced by the Kremlin's powerful information machine. At the same time, experts recognize the appropriateness of improving work in the field of information security and protection from psychological and content influences of the Russian Federation.

If we try to formulate a conclusion in two words, it will be as follows. The new team has announced its intention to create the preconditions and begin to implement landmark transformations for Ukraine's development. To the extent that these announcements prove to be implemented, it may indicate the first year of a new government. However, measures should be taken on such sensitive issues as eliminating the involvement of the oligarchy in public administration, a thorough reduction of corruption, and a real strengthening of the country's defense potential to the level of creation of an uncompromising institution of deterrence of external aggression..

Valentyn Badrak,
Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies