Analytical Bulletin Statements of the CACDS

Key Security and Defense Challenges and Risks of the Second Half of February 2020 - Analysis by the Center for Army Research, Conversion and Disarmament (CDAC)

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The key risks of the second half of February and the beginning of March are related to internal transformations, in particular the risks of replacing the government and directly the leaders of the power bloc.

During the last days of February, a lot of information emerged regarding the nominations for the post of defense minister, due to the alleged replacement of the current head of the defense department, Andrei Zagorodniuk. Thus, the Defense-Industrial Courier news agency, referring to sources in the Office of the President of Ukraine, indicated that several candidates are considering the post of head of the defense department.

In particular, retired Lieutenant General Andriy Taran, First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Colonel-General Mykhailo Koval, as well as professional diplomat Elena Zerkal (former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for European Integration, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary). In addition, until recently, among the candidates for the post of Minister of Defense was a Ukrainian politician, the leader of the party and the public-human rights movement "Power of Law" Andrey Senchenko.

At the same time, it is not a possible change of minister. In connection with the likely personnel changes, before President Vladimir Zelensky as Supreme Commander there was a real prospect of deciding on the likelihood of real army reform.

First, the head of state cannot but ignore the hostility of the Kremlin by any arrangements - almost every day on the eastern front Ukrainian soldiers are killed. This, together with the lack of a profound modernization of the troops, has already led to a different decrease in the level of patriotism. In particular, it became known that 2019 people evaded conscription in 245 (!). "The conscript's youth in Ukraine, instead of serving in the army, prefer to go abroad," ex-Minister of Defense of Ukraine at the time of President Leonid Kuchma Oleksandr Kuzmuk said on February 24, adding that "there were 65 summonses in Kyiv and less than a thousand were called." This is a sign of an almost catastrophic situation for the development of the army, which testifies to an unprecedented decline in the authority of the service. And the lack of response to such data can cause new dramatic events for the state. Ukraine is far behind the enemy country in reforming the army and developing its defense capabilities. It should be recalled that the Russian Federation started the reform of the Armed Forces ("Serdyukov reform") almost immediately after the negative results of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation during the war against Georgia in 2008. It should be admitted that the attack on Ukraine in 2014 was carried out by "a completely different army", but and Serdyukov's reform, and the later and deeper Shoigu reform, are just names. In fact, in Russia, this question is systematically taken care of by the head of the country - Putin, and the ministers and the head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia are only executors. It is important to emphasize that the Russian Federation continues to use Ukraine as a training ground for working out its combat missions, among which there are more and more sabotage methods aimed at destroying OOF personnel. So, according to a message in the FB of the head of "Censor.net" Yuri ButusovRussian soldiers came inside our positions, attacked the delivery vehicle of the 46th Brigade on the back road, killed our Warrior - the enemy took advantage of reducing the activity of our recon groups. The attack happened where they allegedly stopped firing near the village of Lugansk. " Unfortunately, such cases become a systematic war of Russia, and its results for Ukraine are extremely negative.

Secondly, President Zelensky has already taken a significant step in the development of the Armed Forces and the domestic defense sector. It is a decree №59 / 2020, which enters into force the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of February 18, 2020 "On the basic indicators of the state defense order for 2020 and 2021, 2022". In fact, the decree opened up a number of new opportunities. This also preserves the priority of projects, in particular, on "the development of missile weapons, which can be carried out exclusively at the expense of the General Fund of the state budget of Ukraine." As well as the creation of a central executive body responsible for the formation and implementation of the state military-industrial policy and functions for managing state-owned objects in the defense-industrial complex. According to the statement of the head of the information-consulting company Express Express Sergiy Zgurets, important points of the Presidential Decree are also amendments to the Budget Code of Ukraine regarding the creation of the State Fund for Development of the Defense-Industrial Complex of Ukraine; establishment of the Defense Technology Development Agency; the possibility for state customers to conclude long-term contracts with defense companies during the implementation of the state defense order for 2020 and 2021, 2022; purchase of arms and military equipment by import on a competitive basis with the use of offset mechanisms, providing for the gradual development of production of these products at the enterprises of the defense-industrial complex of Ukraine; finally, ensuring a complete transition to modern intelligence, communications and management tools. However, a specialist warned that the appearance of the Decree does not mean that everything will continue to "go on oil." Life teaches that no plan can withstand reality. “The implementation of every paragraph of the Decree requires ideas, people and actions for the words of the decree to be the result. So the major battles in the defense industry are just beginning. Therefore, the role of the expert and community environment is only growing. It is not to be hoped that everything will go well with itself. ”

However, it will not be superfluous to say that the preconditions for accelerating the development of the army and defense potential in general have emerged in Ukraine, which can be a significant element of the country's revival as a powerful regional leader. Incidentally, Russia has tripled its military potential near the borders of Ukraine. Russia continues to expand its military contingent on the border with Ukraine and by 2022 will be able to carry out offensive operations without mobilization, заявив GUR representative of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vadim Skibitsky (18 February).

Risks for Ukraine in the International Arena

The Syrian issue has suddenly become a key issue in international and regional security - it directly addresses Ukraine's security realities.

It should be noted that Turkish troops launched a new military on Sunday, March 1st. operation in northwestern Syria - Operation Shield Spring was a response to the airstrike of Syrian and Russian troops in the de-escalation zone. On February 27, 36 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib (Moscow is indicative of its traditional tactics: it immediately stated that it had no relation to attacks against Turkish troops). It is known that Turkish artillery and unmanned aerial vehicles subsequently made massive strikes on Assad's Syrian forces, supported by Moscow. According to the statement of Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, the Assad regime has lost several helicopters and air defense systems, dozens of armored vehicles and artillery systems, and hundreds have died. In parallel, Ankara addressed NATO partners and separately with the US, meeting of the North Atlantic Council. It is also interesting that the bloc's partners were limited to political and diplomatic support. At the same time, it is worth paying attention to the widening confrontation between Ankara and Moscow. And also that Russia continues to actively use its private military companies in the war. In particular, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "there is ongoing discussion with Libya with Russia; … Unfortunately, Russia has a Wagner group there, numbering 2500 people. ” In fact, we are dealing with the escalation of the confrontation between Turkey and the Russian Federation, and for Ukraine, it should be a matter of honor to make good use of this situation.. Notable is the fact that Erdogan avoids aggressive attacks against the Russian Federation, however, on February 28, an action took place in Istanbul, which condemned Russia's actions in Syria and exclaimed: "Putin's killer will be punished."

Meanwhile, the US has continued sanctions against Russia, and is seen as supporting Ukraine. And on February 25, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exploded with threats against the Kremlin. The reason for the new statement was to interfere in the US presidential election. Another important event for Ukraine was the call on February 20 for eight European countries to fulfill their obligations under the Minsk agreements, withdraw their troops from Ukraine and stop political, financial and military support for fighters in the Donbass.

You should also pay attention to such important events. On February 20, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia officially announced a cyber-attack on government sites in October 2019, organized by the GRU of the Russian Federation. This is a very telling case, since it is precisely such diversions that Moscow may resort to in developing further attacks against Ukraine.

Another negative case concerns the results of Russian intelligence services' involvement in attracting "opinion leaders" to use to undermine the stability of Western democratic countries and, of course, to expand their influence in the fight against Ukraine. In particular, the head of the French Foreign Intelligence Service, Alain Jouyet, will host a program on geopolitics on RT France. It is known that Allen Juie has repeatedly spoken out of the Kremlin's positions, in particular, called the poisoning of GRU exaggerate Sergei Skripal "Anglo-Saxon manipulation", praised Russia's progress in the field of weapons and stated that Moscow was not a threat to Western countries.

Challenges within Ukraine

Among the events and trends within Ukraine, there are several outstanding ones.

For example, on February 24, the Razumkov Center published data from a sociological survey conducted from February 13 to February 17. According to them, Zelensky would now be supported by 40% of Ukrainians, however in the second place of the presidential ranking - the leader of the Opposition platform Yuriy Boyko. In particular, 15% of Ukrainians are ready to give their votes to him. This is a very negative result for the development of Ukraine, as it is evidence of the possibility of revenge in the country.

An announcement by the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov on his positive attitude to private military companies (February 25) should also be considered as an important event. According to him, in the modern world it is "time" to move to the PEC. “I have a positive attitude towards private military companies. We live in the modern world, and if before the companies were only at the state level (state troops), today, I believe, in the modern world it is time to move to private companies. Another matter is how and where to use them, ”Danilov said. Thus, the idea of ​​legitimizing PECs in Ukraine is becoming a trend, which may lead to the adoption of a draft law registered in parliament.

Ukrainian experts note that the advantage of private military companies is that they are able to work without the official decision of the President, ie at the international level there will be no claim that Ukraine will use private military companies for the defense of the state, or even for the purpose of conducting special operations abroad. There are also reservations: in the conditions of transformation of Ukraine itself and the existing influences of oligarchic structures, the control of the state over such private military enterprises can be significantly complicated.

On February 18, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine approved the National Security and Defense Strategy, which paved the way for further defense planning - the adoption of the Military Security Strategy and a number of programs, the key of which will be the State Program of the Armed Forces Development.

It is in this context that the key figures of the government order and the information provided by the military should be recorded. In particular, the Ministry of Defense intends to buy about three thousand rocket complexes and rockets to them worth over 2,4 billion hryvnia. More than 300 million hryvnias have been allocated for financing the missile program than in 2019. “In particular, the completion of the development with state tests of the Neptune and Alder complexes is planned in 2020 and their financing is fully ensured. When accepted into service, serial samples will be purchased, ”the statement said on February 21. Work is also underway to create a multifunctional missile system (BFCC) program, the concept of which is now being negotiated externally. The following priorities have been identified in 2020: Navy: development and delivery of anti-ship missile complex "Neptune", modernization of the frigate "Getman Sagaidachny", boats "Island", supply of helicopters, combat armored vehicles, restoration of the state target program "Corvette". Air Defense Forces: Restoration of anti-aircraft missile systems, delivery of radar stations, deployment of complexes of means of the automated system of control of aviation and air defense. Tactical aviation: continuation of deliveries of upgraded Mig-29, Su-27, Su-25 aircraft. Ground forces: development and delivery of new samples of rocket and artillery weapons, ammunition, armored vehicles, motor vehicles, helicopters, unmanned aerial complexes, electronic warfare stations, sniper weapons.

At the same time, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, General Mykhailo Zabrodsky criticized the purchase of the Polish armored vehicles "Oncilla" for the Armed Forces. "For the first time in 2020, for the first time in the recent history of Ukraine, a large number of foreign-made BBMs were included," he wrote on his FB page, adding, "this is an Oncilla armored car made by Poland, with the stated price of everything in UAH 8,3 million per unit ». And also too little allocation for artillery ammunition. "The sum of UAH 76 million for the purchase of artillery ammunition is like a mockery of the combat effectiveness of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," he said, adding that "too low prices are laid in the state defense order for 2020". Another general, former First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces (2016-2019), Igor Kolesnyk, said at a roundtable on February 26 that the Defense Ministry had "one of the lowest percentages of fulfillment of the state defense order - 2019%" in 68. "In addition to the leadership of the OPC and coordination of its activities, we have a serious problem in the planning, formation and use of the state defense order," he said in his speech.

The same issue of financing the Armed Forces' rearmament as defining the appearance of the future Ukrainian army remains the most acute topic of debate.

Valentin Badrak

Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Research (CDACR)

The key risks of the second half of February and the beginning of March are related to internal transformations, in particular the risks of replacing the government and directly the leaders of the power bloc.

During the last days of February, a lot of information emerged regarding the nominations for the post of defense minister, due to the alleged replacement of the current head of the defense department, Andrei Zagorodniuk. Thus, the Defense-Industrial Courier news agency, referring to sources in the Office of the President of Ukraine, indicated that several candidates are considering the post of head of the defense department.

In particular, retired Lieutenant General Andriy Taran, First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Colonel-General Mykhailo Koval, as well as professional diplomat Elena Zerkal (former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for European Integration, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary). In addition, until recently, among the candidates for the post of Minister of Defense was a Ukrainian politician, the leader of the party and the public-human rights movement "Power of Law" Andrey Senchenko.

At the same time, it is not a possible change of minister. In connection with the likely personnel changes, before President Vladimir Zelensky as Supreme Commander there was a real prospect of deciding on the likelihood of real army reform.

First, the head of state cannot but ignore the hostility of the Kremlin by any arrangements - almost every day on the eastern front Ukrainian soldiers are killed. This, together with the lack of a profound modernization of the troops, has already led to a different decrease in the level of patriotism. In particular, it became known that 2019 people evaded conscription in 245 (!). "The conscript's youth in Ukraine, instead of serving in the army, prefer to go abroad," ex-Minister of Defense of Ukraine at the time of President Leonid Kuchma Oleksandr Kuzmuk said on February 24, adding that "there were 65 summonses in Kyiv and less than a thousand were called." This is a sign of an almost catastrophic situation for the development of the army, which testifies to an unprecedented decline in the authority of the service. And the lack of response to such data can cause new dramatic events for the state. Ukraine is far behind the enemy country in reforming the army and developing its defense capabilities. It should be recalled that the Russian Federation started the reform of the Armed Forces ("Serdyukov reform") almost immediately after the negative results of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation during the war against Georgia in 2008. It should be admitted that the attack on Ukraine in 2014 was carried out by "a completely different army", but and Serdyukov's reform, and the later and deeper Shoigu reform, are just names. In fact, in Russia, this question is systematically taken care of by the head of the country - Putin, and the ministers and the head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia are only executors. It is important to emphasize that the Russian Federation continues to use Ukraine as a training ground for working out its combat missions, among which there are more and more sabotage methods aimed at destroying OOF personnel. So, according to a message in the FB of the head of "Censor.net" Yuri ButusovRussian soldiers came inside our positions, attacked the delivery vehicle of the 46th Brigade on the back road, killed our Warrior - the enemy took advantage of reducing the activity of our recon groups. The attack happened where they allegedly stopped firing near the village of Lugansk. " Unfortunately, such cases become a systematic war of Russia, and its results for Ukraine are extremely negative.

Secondly, President Zelensky has already taken a significant step in the development of the Armed Forces and the domestic defense sector. It is a decree №59 / 2020, which enters into force the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of February 18, 2020 "On the basic indicators of the state defense order for 2020 and 2021, 2022". In fact, the decree opened up a number of new opportunities. This also preserves the priority of projects, in particular, on "the development of missile weapons, which can be carried out exclusively at the expense of the General Fund of the state budget of Ukraine." As well as the creation of a central executive body responsible for the formation and implementation of the state military-industrial policy and functions for managing state-owned objects in the defense-industrial complex. According to the statement of the head of the information-consulting company Express Express Sergiy Zgurets, important points of the Presidential Decree are also amendments to the Budget Code of Ukraine regarding the creation of the State Fund for Development of the Defense-Industrial Complex of Ukraine; establishment of the Defense Technology Development Agency; the possibility for state customers to conclude long-term contracts with defense companies during the implementation of the state defense order for 2020 and 2021, 2022; purchase of arms and military equipment by import on a competitive basis with the use of offset mechanisms, providing for the gradual development of production of these products at the enterprises of the defense-industrial complex of Ukraine; finally, ensuring a complete transition to modern intelligence, communications and management tools. However, a specialist warned that the appearance of the Decree does not mean that everything will continue to "go on oil." Life teaches that no plan can withstand reality. “The implementation of every paragraph of the Decree requires ideas, people and actions for the words of the decree to be the result. So the major battles in the defense industry are just beginning. Therefore, the role of the expert and community environment is only growing. It is not to be hoped that everything will go well with itself. ”

However, it will not be superfluous to say that the preconditions for accelerating the development of the army and defense potential in general have emerged in Ukraine, which can be a significant element of the country's revival as a powerful regional leader. Incidentally, Russia has tripled its military potential near the borders of Ukraine. Russia continues to expand its military contingent on the border with Ukraine and by 2022 will be able to carry out offensive operations without mobilization, заявив GUR representative of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vadim Skibitsky (18 February).

Risks for Ukraine in the International Arena

The Syrian issue has suddenly become a key issue in international and regional security - it directly addresses Ukraine's security realities.

It should be noted that Turkish troops launched a new military on Sunday, March 1st. operation in northwestern Syria - Operation Shield Spring was a response to the airstrike of Syrian and Russian troops in the de-escalation zone. On February 27, 36 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib (Moscow is indicative of its traditional tactics: it immediately stated that it had no relation to attacks against Turkish troops). It is known that Turkish artillery and unmanned aerial vehicles subsequently made massive strikes on Assad's Syrian forces, supported by Moscow. According to the statement of Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, the Assad regime has lost several helicopters and air defense systems, dozens of armored vehicles and artillery systems, and hundreds have died. In parallel, Ankara addressed NATO partners and separately with the US, meeting of the North Atlantic Council. It is also interesting that the bloc's partners were limited to political and diplomatic support. At the same time, it is worth paying attention to the widening confrontation between Ankara and Moscow. And also that Russia continues to actively use its private military companies in the war. In particular, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, "there is ongoing discussion with Libya with Russia; … Unfortunately, Russia has a Wagner group there, numbering 2500 people. ” In fact, we are dealing with the escalation of the confrontation between Turkey and the Russian Federation, and for Ukraine, it should be a matter of honor to make good use of this situation.. Notable is the fact that Erdogan avoids aggressive attacks against the Russian Federation, however, on February 28, an action took place in Istanbul, which condemned Russia's actions in Syria and exclaimed: "Putin's killer will be punished."

Meanwhile, the US has continued sanctions against Russia, and is seen as supporting Ukraine. And on February 25, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exploded with threats against the Kremlin. The reason for the new statement was to interfere in the US presidential election. Another important event for Ukraine was the call on February 20 for eight European countries to fulfill their obligations under the Minsk agreements, withdraw their troops from Ukraine and stop political, financial and military support for fighters in the Donbass.

You should also pay attention to such important events. On February 20, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia officially announced a cyber-attack on government sites in October 2019, organized by the GRU of the Russian Federation. This is a very telling case, since it is precisely such diversions that Moscow may resort to in developing further attacks against Ukraine.

Another negative case concerns the results of Russian intelligence services' involvement in attracting "opinion leaders" to use to undermine the stability of Western democratic countries and, of course, to expand their influence in the fight against Ukraine. In particular, the head of the French Foreign Intelligence Service, Alain Jouyet, will host a program on geopolitics on RT France. It is known that Allen Juie has repeatedly spoken out of the Kremlin's positions, in particular, called the poisoning of GRU exaggerate Sergei Skripal "Anglo-Saxon manipulation", praised Russia's progress in the field of weapons and stated that Moscow was not a threat to Western countries.

Challenges within Ukraine

Among the events and trends within Ukraine, there are several outstanding ones.

For example, on February 24, the Razumkov Center published data from a sociological survey conducted from February 13 to February 17. According to them, Zelensky would now be supported by 40% of Ukrainians, however in the second place of the presidential ranking - the leader of the Opposition platform Yuriy Boyko. In particular, 15% of Ukrainians are ready to give their votes to him. This is a very negative result for the development of Ukraine, as it is evidence of the possibility of revenge in the country.

An announcement by the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov on his positive attitude to private military companies (February 25) should also be considered as an important event. According to him, in the modern world it is "time" to move to the PEC. “I have a positive attitude towards private military companies. We live in the modern world, and if before the companies were only at the state level (state troops), today, I believe, in the modern world it is time to move to private companies. Another matter is how and where to use them, ”Danilov said. Thus, the idea of ​​legitimizing PECs in Ukraine is becoming a trend, which may lead to the adoption of a draft law registered in parliament.

Ukrainian experts note that the advantage of private military companies is that they are able to work without the official decision of the President, ie at the international level there will be no claim that Ukraine will use private military companies for the defense of the state, or even for the purpose of conducting special operations abroad. There are also reservations: in the conditions of transformation of Ukraine itself and the existing influences of oligarchic structures, the control of the state over such private military enterprises can be significantly complicated.

On February 18, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine approved the National Security and Defense Strategy, which paved the way for further defense planning - the adoption of the Military Security Strategy and a number of programs, the key of which will be the State Program of the Armed Forces Development.

It is in this context that the key figures of the government order and the information provided by the military should be recorded. In particular, the Ministry of Defense intends to buy about three thousand rocket complexes and rockets to them worth over 2,4 billion hryvnia. More than 300 million hryvnias have been allocated for financing the missile program than in 2019. “In particular, the completion of the development with state tests of the Neptune and Alder complexes is planned in 2020 and their financing is fully ensured. When accepted into service, serial samples will be purchased, ”the statement said on February 21. Work is also underway to create a multifunctional missile system (BFCC) program, the concept of which is now being negotiated externally. The following priorities have been identified in 2020: Navy: development and delivery of anti-ship missile complex "Neptune", modernization of the frigate "Getman Sagaidachny", boats "Island", supply of helicopters, combat armored vehicles, restoration of the state target program "Corvette". Air Defense Forces: Restoration of anti-aircraft missile systems, delivery of radar stations, deployment of complexes of means of the automated system of control of aviation and air defense. Tactical aviation: continuation of deliveries of upgraded Mig-29, Su-27, Su-25 aircraft. Ground forces: development and delivery of new samples of rocket and artillery weapons, ammunition, armored vehicles, motor vehicles, helicopters, unmanned aerial complexes, electronic warfare stations, sniper weapons.

At the same time, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, General Mykhailo Zabrodsky criticized the purchase of the Polish armored vehicles "Oncilla" for the Armed Forces. "For the first time in 2020, for the first time in the recent history of Ukraine, a large number of foreign-made BBMs were included," he wrote on his FB page, adding, "this is an Oncilla armored car made by Poland, with the stated price of everything in UAH 8,3 million per unit ». And also too little allocation for artillery ammunition. "The sum of UAH 76 million for the purchase of artillery ammunition is like a mockery of the combat effectiveness of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," he said, adding that "too low prices are laid in the state defense order for 2020". Another general, former First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces (2016-2019), Igor Kolesnyk, said at a roundtable on February 26 that the Defense Ministry had "one of the lowest percentages of fulfillment of the state defense order - 2019%" in 68. "In addition to the leadership of the OPC and coordination of its activities, we have a serious problem in the planning, formation and use of the state defense order," he said in his speech.

The same issue of financing the Armed Forces' rearmament as defining the appearance of the future Ukrainian army remains the most acute topic of debate.

Valentin Badrak

Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Research (CDACR)