Ukrainian Security Sector

Key security and defense challenges and risks in the first half of August 2019

Key events that will affect the security environment around Ukraine shifted to the middle of neighboring Russia in the first half of August. Massive riots, active demonstration of disobedience by the Russians, and mass violations by the Russian authorities of the Constitution, laws (in particular, the police), orders (in particular, the 664 Order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation) caused new sources of danger. In particular, the risk of Russia's war against Ukraine has increased significantly, including with a view to "incorporating external factors" in order to achieve internal stability in Russia.

Incidentally, the loosening of power in Russia can lead both to the predicted CDDA's replacement of power and to unforeseen consequences similar to the events following the collapse of the USSR. These are only the first active attempts by the Russian public sector, which do not give reason to hope for a quick turn of events, but allow to accelerate negative scenarios. Political scientists and observers have already substantially emphasized that thousands of rallies dissatisfied with the refusal of opposition and independent candidates to participate in the Moscow City Duma elections, which have become one of the most massive in recent years, have taken place over the last weeks in Moscow, not so much because of this formal one authorities (during the violent crackdown on protests by 3 in August, police arrested more than 2 thousand people, 10 August - more than 200 people).

These developments take place amid further aggravation of relations between Russia and the United States - now as a result of an extensive arms race. The first said the other day that it was "winning the US arms race." The latter call into question Russia's ability to compete in the context of modern rearmament. So the United States of America 14 in August, through Reuters, made the assumption that the blast last week in Russia was linked to the Kremlin's hypersonic cruise missile program. Moreover, Washington believes that the unauthorized explosion contained radioactive elements. This has led Americans through media to assert that Russia's attempts to develop hypersonic cruise missiles are questioning whether to extend the so-called New START (START-III) nuclear deal, which expires early in the 2021 year. Thus, the rhetoric of the two world centers of influence is exacerbated and gives no reason to hope for a transition to constructive dialogue. In addition, given that the Kremlin has actively promoted the thesis that the confrontation between the US and Russia is taking place in Ukraine, the danger of a military scenario against Ukraine may not tend to diminish in the near future.

In this context, Poland's defense-building strategy may be exemplary for Ukraine. In particular, against the background of the statement of the Minister of National Defense of Poland Mariusz Blaszczak about the need to almost double the size of the army of the country (up to 200 thousand personnel). It is interesting that for these purposes, the program "Become a Soldier of the Republic of Poland" was developed and launched in the country. Warsaw has already announced the emergence in September of 2019 of the new ground forces division, which has already been called "the most powerful in comparison to the three existing Polish Army divisions". Needless to say, Polish President Andrzej Duda 31 July this year. signed a decree on the main directions of development of the Polish Army for the 2021-2035 years - they envisage the implementation of an extremely ambitious rearmament program. In particular, the purchase of 32 fifth-generation multipurpose fighter jets, short-range air defense systems, 38 new attack helicopters, US Patriot medium-range anti-aircraft missiles, batches of medium-range tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, party reconnaissance, reconnaissance the purchase of a batch of reconnaissance aircraft for electronic and radar intelligence and even new submarines.

What is the Polish accent and what is it about here? Countries with experience in the fight against the "empire of evil" are well aware that it is better to spend on weapons and build timely protection against the encroachments of the Russian "brother" than to build up the possibility of reincarnating lost statehood for decades.

The transformation of Russia as a threat

As already noted, it is worth paying particular attention to the significant changes in sentiment among the population of Russia. Although the Kremlin does not consider the mass protests in Moscow a political crisis, the reaction of the Russian authorities and the power dispersal of the protesters demonstrates an awareness of the danger. In this context, the statements of analysts, opinion leaders, can be interesting. "Putin will be removed from power either as a result of the revolution or as a result of the war he unleashed," wrote Dmitry Bykov, a Russian poet and prose writer who is considered a serious analyst in the country. "He - or his power - does not leave peaceful scenarios," he added, focusing on "mass repression" of the authorities, "neglect of the Constitution", "liquidation of the court and omnipotence of punitive bodies", and most importantly - on "artificial schism. countries on irreconcilable criminals and equally irreconcilable oppositionists. The same goes for the deeper problems in the minds of the Russians and the authorities themselves than might seem at first glance. One should look at the rapid growth of the opposition and in some groups (including social networks where, according to the August Levad Center estimates, more than 40% of Russians under 35 are informed) discussing the situation with negative assessments of the actions of the authorities.

On the other hand, such a situation in the Russian Federation may trigger pro-Russian groups in Ukraine. And above all, from the political force that went to parliament. Just in time for 13 in August, NSDC Secretary Alexander Danylyuk drew the attention of the public to the fact that Election of Speaker to Parliament Speakers of Viktor Medvedchuk's "Opposition Platform - For Life" Threat to National Securityadding that "we need to be able to deal with such challenges in parliament as well." Realizing this problem by the top Ukrainian authorities is an extremely important aspect of the Kremlin's opposition. At the same time, it is unknown at this time whether the authorities will be able to organize the functioning of the security sector in such a way as to minimize the impact on the performance of a heterogeneous society and pro-Russian groups of influence.

Against this background, the lack of a specific plan for the Donbas from the new Ukrainian authorities remains a significant problem. It is significant that foreign analytical structures began to take care of these problems. Which, as a rule, feel the depth of the problem, but are influenced by their own illusions and do not understand how to change the Ukrainian realities. An outstanding example is the appearance of a thematic article in Forreign Affairs in the first decade of August. Saying that Russia has occupied 7% of Ukraine's territory and recognizing that the occupied part of Ukraine became an insurmountable pressure point, a problem that no one knows how to solve, the columnist rightly focuses on regional differences in life in Ukraine. Yet, her conclusions about Ukraine's future are absolutely detached ...

Risks for Ukraine in the International Arena

The most important news of the beginning of August was the statement of the former Vice President of the United States and one of the main candidates for the post of White House Chief Joe Biden that if elected, he would make Ukraine a priority of international politics. “I would make Ukraine a priority for international politics. In the military field, I would provide security assistance from the US, including weapons, to strengthen Ukraine's ability to defend itself. I would also extend the successful training of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, started by the Obama-Biden administration, "Biden said. Equally important, the former US Vice President would also support the much stronger US role alongside France and Germany in negotiating with Russia. It is clear that the Ukrainian issue, as part of the US confrontation with Russia, is to some extent exploited by US politicians. However, Biden's statement is not just political rhetoric. This is the likelihood of Ukraine becoming an ally of the United States, which implies a completely different ideology of Washington's support and cooperation. And also a clear signal of a desire to join forces of the West to jointly combat Putin's renewed "empire of evil" efforts.

This Biden signal is very symptomatic - because of a significant coincidence. Namely, the Russian and Belarussian authorities eliminated fundamental differences in August and reached agreements on integration into the Union State. According to TASS, a meeting of the prime ministers of the Russian Federation and Belarus should take place within a month, at which the final version of the agreements that the presidents of the countries reached at a meeting in St. Petersburg in July this year should be formed. The Putin Kremlin is known to be in a difficult situation: sanctions have begun to be felt, people's frustration has intensified, and the unprofitable arms race has begun. And yet, Putin tirelessly seeks allies around the world, flirting with the mighty as China and overcoming the weak as Belarus…

Incidentally, Moscow and Minsk's integration program within the Union State covers such areas of the economy as tax law, financial, budgetary, monetary policy. There is no risk of making a mistake: Based on the economic union, this policy will necessarily include issues of defense, security and foreign policy support. For Kyiv, this event and the trend itself are not good news, because the Belarusian border is becoming as dangerous as the Russian border. Moscow is trying to create a rigid semi-circle around Ukraine - from the east, north and south.

Russian problems. The Ukrainian context

At the same time, problems in Russia itself are accumulating faster than anticipated in the Kremlin. And their range is getting bigger. It is worth focusing on technological issues.

August 12 media reports of an explosion at a military training ground near the Severodvinsk Arkhangelsk region occurred during the test of a Russian military prototype of a cruise missile with a nuclear power plant "Petrel", which President of Russia Vladimir Putin personally announced in FebruaryXNUM NATO designated it as SSC-X-9 Skyfall). It is significant that the evacuation of the residents of Nenox settlement due to radioactive contamination of the territory has already started on August 730. The information space was filled with rumors that made Russia look like the Soviet Union, which downplayed the extent of the Chernobyl tragedy and delayed public awareness of the disaster.

Experts have already begun to say out loud that the build-up of such a dangerous weapon is capable of jeopardizing the entire world at risk of self-destruction. Among other, the catastrophe emergency situation on the brink of disaster has clearly demonstrated that Russia itself is a global threat to the modern world. The country is in a hurry to strike an armed balance, trying to intimidate the whole world. Moscow's statement that the Kremlin is ahead of the United States in the arms race, it only adds to the risks. Recall that in the USSR, when it was not so much about the qualitative preparation of weapons, but about the desire to show the world something strange, dangerous and in large numbers. Russia has taken a similar baton to the Soviet Union.

However, the technological and economic problems of Russia are not limited to the missile theme. After the recent SuperJet-100 disaster, Russia has returned to upgrading its Su-34 (4 ++ fighter-bomber) aircraft due to the fact that it does not have time to re-equip itself for fifth-generation aircraft. All this is symptomatic of the absolute backwardness in technology from the leading countries, when quality suffers in quantity, and therefore, there is a danger not only for those who experience such weapons, but also in a more global sense. Russia does not have time to re-equip itself. Putin has announced the acquisition of the latest fifth-generation 76 aircraft, but it is now known that two such aircraft will be purchased in the next two to three years. Moreover, there is no definitive certainty that these aircraft will be the fifth generation. There are many other areas in this matter besides the topic of aircraft. All this indicates that Russia has been drawn into the destructive tendencies of the USSR, and has become a "grenade monkey" as it becomes even more dangerous not only in its aggressive policies but also in the unpredictability of purely technological mistakes. For the Russian Federation, such a race is not a resource resource, a financial force, and in the end, the situation that began after the elections in Ukraine adds to the problems. The danger for Ukraine is also increasing, because when the Russian authorities feel that the neck is tightened on its neck, it is always looking for an external factor, ie an external enemy. In such a situation, she needs a series of at least small victories - whether in Ukraine, or in Syria, or somewhere else. Considering all that is said in the complex, you can expect anything from the Russian Federation and the scenario of war may be unpredictable.

Internal reforms

Ukraine, which is undergoing a stage of transformation of power, is preparing for a series of reforms.

An important announcement of defense reform was the statement by Assistant Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Ivan Aparshin on the need to prepare a preventive strike in Russia. According to Aparshin, the sole purpose of the existence of the Ukrainian army is to inflict maximum damage on Russia, and therefore Kiev must strike the aggressor with a preventive blow. In this regard, Ivan Aparshin noted the following: “We should clearly understand that, if the Russian Federation decides on large-scale aggression, it does not mean that the Ukrainian army will be able to win this war. But this means that we will cause such damage to Russia, including in its territory, that further aggression will not be possible for them in principle. This is the basic idea of ​​reforming the Armed Forces, Security and Defense - not to win the war, but to make sure that they do not even have such a thought in their stupid heads. "

In addition, President Zelensky 9 in August approved the procedure for conducting a review of the intelligence agencies of Ukraine. And during a meeting with representatives of the International Advisory Group (EU, US, NATO, EU Advisory Mission), Oleksandr Danylyuk, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, announced on August 13 the intention to reform the Security Service of Ukraine as one of the main requirements of the Law on National Security of Ukraine .

Another indicative news is the creation of the first joint venture within the framework of the deployment of military and technical cooperation. In particular, Ukrspetsexport, a member of Ukroboronprom and Turkish company Baykar Defense, has launched four new weapons and military equipment manufacturing projects. “The logic of such cooperation is as follows. If in general, without disclosure of details, we have some kind of weapons, the Turkish side has a lot of experience in electronics. We take our sample, the Turkish side provides modern electronic systems. We are creating a new product. We already have four such projects in our work, "explained CEO of SC" Ukroboronprom "Pavel Bukin.

In early August, work began to investigate the alleged presidential abuses of Petro Poroshenko. Observers say that "never before has an avalanche of criminal proceedings covered an ex-head of state with such capacity." Currently, a dozen lawsuits have been opened against the ex-President, and one of the case developer is Andrey Portnov. One of the cases concerns the defense sphere, in particular, contains the words "about Poroshenko's laundering of funds and non-payment of taxes at the Forge on Rybalsky." According to Portnov's accusation, Poroshenko allegedly legalized 300 million. revenues through offshore companies, concluding a non-existent transaction at the expense of funds stolen from the Ukrainian army ». Significantly, the director of the State Bureau of Investigation, Roman Pipe 12 in August, reported that the next interrogation of the fifth President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko may be conducted using a polygraph. Therefore, the events surrounding the reforms and the ordering within Ukraine seem decisive. How long the authorities will be able to complete the announced initiatives will show time.

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