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Ukrainian defense of the times of the coronavirus

The real situation with the preparation of a possible meeting of the army with the virus - as in the whole society.

There are no cases of coronavirus disease in the Armed Forces; 130 servicemen are in isolation. This is official information from the military department on March 26.

Formally, the situation is satisfactory. It can be added that a large part of the Armed Forces medical units are re-profiled for infectious diseases, and medical isolators are created in each military unit. The Defense Ministry prepared 1000 beds for Covid-19 disease among the military. Special protective suits, which are produced by one of the domestic enterprises directly for the army, began to arrive. Made of 80 suits, half of which were sent to the medical office of the OOS. And yet - Ukraine has asked NATO for assistance in counteracting the coronavirus in the Armed Forces.

The real situation with the preparation of a possible meeting of the army with the virus - as in the whole society. That is, preventive measures are limited, quarantine is rather conditional. The facts of different approaches of foreign countries to the fight against the pandemic, as well as different results - evidence that no one has reliable knowledge about the worldwide invasion of the new virus. Naturally, in Ukraine too - even messy public transport operation decision indicate that they accept them emotionally, in a chaotic way.

Features of national response

It should be remembered that the army is, above all, part of society, and the most vulnerable, due to the need for multifaceted, multi-layered interaction of its components. Armed Forces - especially since the tasks of autonomy of the units were solved except in the structures of the special purpose. And yet - the army remains quite closed to the whole society, so it is best to perceive it in terms of the epidemic due to the "mediators" - volunteers and defenders - who are admitted to it.

In the Council of Volunteers at the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, on condition of anonymity, they say that in the area of ​​the CAB, the military only collected applications for what they need to counteract the coronavirus. At the same time in the OOS there are no equipped places for isolation of possible patients, there are no devices of artificial ventilation of the lungs, and there are no devices for disinfection. There are serious problems with masks and costumes. However, each team is prepared and provided with one unit for prompt response to infections. Volunteers insist that the military department should hastily conclude agreements with all companies willing to promptly supply all necessary means of counteracting the pandemic. But to solve this problem requires rapid involvement in the work of the government - the rescue of the army goes far beyond the purview of the Ministry of Defense.

Volunteers may be thickening their colors when they insist on previous virus testing of all logistics in the CAB. Volunteer teams now provide emergency units in the emergency. Not neglecting even the costumes for the painters, which (when glued together) are much better than the Soviet bulky CPCs - unbearably cold in the winter and incredibly hot in the summer. But recognize - it's a drop in the sea, and without the active participation of the state here can not cope. By the way, they indicate with evil envy that all NSU and police units in the CAB are fully covered. Those under the firecrackers got everything, and those under the shells got almost nothing…

Viktor Korobko, the chief of the Russian Defense Forces Defense Forces (radiological, chemical and biological protection), agrees with the assessment of incomplete preparation of the Armed Forces for the coronavirus counteraction. The commander of the CBRN Forces in 2007-2013, and now the director of business development for the country's sole manufacturer of HDR protection products - the private enterprise Sparring-West Center - he says that the current situation is an objective reality, as it has been for decades no RCBs were procured. Gas masks and personal protective equipment are outdated, made in the USSR and are unlikely to agree to address the challenges of counteracting the coronavirus. He noted that only in 2020 the Ministry of Defense provided for the purchase of gas masks for the Navy. The specialist believes that it is quite possible to throw up operational orders to a number of enterprises that are able to develop and master production of anti-coronavirus products in a short time. Others include the Sparring-West Center, which is ready to quickly develop and manufacture artificial ventilation apparatus, which will take about two months, and by the end of the year it is quite possible to make 20-30 such devices if orders are issued immediately.

As you can see, the previous military leadership did not reach these issues, and the new one (after the replacement of the Minister of Defense) had not yet fully resolved personnel issues. In the government too, "everyone for himself": the Ministry of Internal Affairs had time to prepare for the attack of the NSU virus and the police - great! And whoever has not had time, seek volunteer help ... In general, all components of the security sector remain disparate and unbalanced. For example, according to NSDCU Deputy Secretary General Sergiy Kryvonos, Ukraine could, but did not have time to deploy and build an effective territorial defense system that could be at a higher level at the level of areas of response to a virus invasion.

Or another, no less showy episode: the authorities are now preparing for a power outage in the Armed Forces. Problems may arise as early as this week - due to the delay in signing contracts with suppliers who were supposed to provide these services, but reported that they considered the coronavirus epidemic to be a force majeure and therefore unable to fulfill their obligations. On March 24, the president's office has already addressed the heads of regional state administrations and the leadership of Kyiv, so that they are ready to help parts of the Armed Forces for free. Notable: The Cabinet of Ministers has promptly submitted a bill to extend the 2019 Treaties, which should be considered by the Verkhovna Rada. But, with the current “maturity” in parliament, will it be possible to do it expeditiously?

In general, according to many observers, preparing the country and the army for a potential epidemic is a question commensurate with the preparation for the Kremlin's aggression. More specifically, preparation for a meeting with the evil viruses is only part of a comprehensive defense training and organization of a decent meeting with the viruses is far more dangerous, the Kremlin.

Strategic Defense Issues

Many do not notice that in a pandemic, the war not only subsided, but also markedly gained momentum. Purposeful, systematically organized shootings of Ukrainian soldiers by snipers and PTKR services are intended to undermine the morale and morale of the army. As Putin's enemy has imploded himself in the Kremlin by 2036, there is no doubt that attempts to escalate the war, unless Russia absorbs the gloom of the economic crisis or resolves the "Ukrainian issue" politically, will be. By the way, the other day, while speaking at the board of the Ministry of Defense, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry, Sergei Shoigu, reported that by the end of 2020 in the Southern military district (read - near the borders with Ukraine. - V.B.) will create two new missile crews and a rifle division.

In such circumstances, Kiev has only one way: to consider the era of the coronavirus a chance to prepare a truly balanced defense. By the way, this is what profile persons in the OPU say. For example, the Director General of the Directorate for National Security and Defense of the OPU, Ivan Aparshin, believes that in the current conditions it is necessary to urgently prepare the State Defense Plan. For the first time in its history, a document that Ukraine has to create should bring together all the main indicators. To integrate economic, infrastructural, purely military, information-psychological and many other possibilities into a single plane. Just like in the face of an epidemic, everything must be based on a precise mathematical calculation: for what period of time, by what forces and means the enemy can inflict such losses that he refuses from further aggression. Including the calculation of the use of asymmetric capabilities, “human factor” potential, new military and dual-use technologies. Including the calculation of what means are used at the stage of deployment of the enemy (and at what depth of the turret, that is, advance strikes on its territory!), Which are on the line 100–50–20–5 km. And, of course, solving the problems of coordination of all structures of the defense forces, including public-private interaction.

But, unfortunately, it must be admitted that the work of the authorities on strategic issues today, when not paralyzed, is moving far beyond the expected pace. The COVID-19 outburst significantly tied its hands, drawing its lens away from defense training. By April 30, key defense-related development programs should come to light, June 1 - the OPC Development Strategy, and June 10 - the State Defense Plan. There is a risk that the "human factor" may nullify promising intentions.

This is confirmed by simple signs. Judge for yourself. On February 27, Presidential Decree No. 5920 was signed, which could really form the basis of a new ideology for the development of defense capabilities. Whatever they say about Zelensky's unprofessionalism, he has signed a series of revolutionary changes. It was decided to create a target State Defense Fund for the development of the defense industry, a defense technology development agency, the notorious central executive body (CEB), responsible for the formation and implementation of the state military-industrial policy, as well as the strategy of military-technical cooperation (MTC). This is something that merciful Poroshenko would never have done.

And what is the result? There is no expected CEB, as well as the promised profile deputy prime minister for defense and aerospace industry, one month after the decree has been issued, there are no signs of creating a technology development agency, a defense industry fund and a PTS strategy… Unfortunately, the head of state decree does not determine whether the CEB be a ministry, so hotheads can leave it in any other form, even in the form of the existing profile of the Ministry of Economic Development.

But further - more fears.

State Defense Order (DOS-20) is a key element of the decree and the year. Yes, we are all reaping the benefits of the inability of the previous leadership of the military department to formulate the DOS-20 in a timely manner and adequately shape it. Unfortunately, the president had to intervene to protect missile programs in the budget. It makes sense to pay more attention to the issue of DOS-20, since it is, unlike the other statements, the main and real factor in preparing the defense of the future. Namely, few people pay attention to the fact that the aforementioned presidential decree is approved only main indicators DOS-20, the rest should be finalized in the process. To say that this has a very negative impact on the work of the defense industry - to say nothing! It demoralizes the defense no less than the ill-fated coronavirus.

But sometimes the unprofessionalism of some turns out to be a success for others. Because now (fortunately, the previous Ministry of Defense leadership) has accumulated several billion unspent UAH at the end of the year. And they were painted for the current year. Therefore, in the absence of DOS-20, some enterprises are loaded. For example, last year's money in full mode is a rocket cluster under the banner of the State Committee of State Security "Ray". The Lutsk Aircraft Repair Plant “Motor” was loaded almost under wraps, although some people know that the dosage there is no more than 30%. The Konotop Aircraft, which specializes in the repair and modernization of combat helicopters, is also fully loaded. But many businesses have been in bed for a long time. Experts consider the 410th Aircraft Repair and Kharkiv Aircraft Plant destroyed, one day a week the Chuguevsky Aircraft Works. The situation in the private sector is similar. For example, the compact enterprise Atlon Avia, which produces unmanned aerial vehicle adjusters, may be lucky: working on a batch of complexes purchased by the Defense Ministry at the end of 2019, Athlon Avia will hold up to DOS-20. But he won't be able to develop the theme. According to the director of the enterprise Artem Vyunnik, created by his team for working resources, the country's first shock drone (barrage kamikaze ST-35) will not advance in the tests, as there are no working resources, and a new order from the Ministry of Defense is only in the future. But if the state had launched a mechanism of forward contracts (the promise of the customer to buy a certain lot, provided the required General Staff of the Armed Forces characteristics), the money would be found ...

But there are many more businesses that are struggling with the unsigned DOS-20 in time. Among them, even traditionally successful. For example, having made four products ordered by the military department for working money, HC “Ukrspetstekhnika” was forced to go to full quarantine - until the appearance of DOS-20. There are dozens of such enterprises today. And not only are they affected.

Every year spent rearming is a trump card in Putin's cards. Just like every incorrectly spelled DOS - this is what caused these interruptions. Not the coronavirus, as you might think… The army that survived Ilovaysk and Debaltseve, the coronavirus will survive for sure. And we all have to keep in mind that the best armies in the history of our civilization were born during the most horrific crises.

Valentin Badrak

Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CEDAW)