In an interview, Major-General Y. Tolochny reports a number of characteristic problems in the current Armed Forces of Ukraine:
- the most acute shortage of funds for the construction of military accommodation facilities, newly formed or withdrawn from the ATO zone by rotation of the compound and parts are placed in tent camps;
- lack of funds to ensure the survivability and safety of arsenals and ammunition storage sites - 5-10% of the required amount is allocated;
- "The situation with ammunition is very serious. Today there are a number of deficient calibers. This is about rifle guns, and about artillery and missile ammunition." Introduced limits on the consumption of artillery ammunition. In a year or two, or a maximum of three, the shortage of ammunition will become critical;
- upgrade option tanks T-64BM "Bulat" was "unsuccessful in real combat." “The Bulat T-64BM tanks, due to their heavy weight and weak engine, were ineffective, were transferred to the reserve, and replaced with linear T-64s.”
Tent camp of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (c) IA “Defense promises kur'yr”
Since 2014, in matters related to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the attention of the overwhelming majority of experts and media has been focused on the war zone in the east of the country, its related problems and challenges. However, a significant part of the most acute problems of the army lies outside the ATO zone, and is concentrated in areas that are not directly related to military operations. Moreover, the revival of the APU, which began four years ago, turned out to be a whole series of new difficulties. On the difficulties associated with the equipment points of permanent deployment of troops, the situation with the bases and arsenals, as well as the growing problems in the ammunition industry to the information agency "Defense Industrial Courier" told a man who worked in the army logistics since its inception in the Armed Forces of Ukraine in its modern form - Deputy Chief Logistics Department of the Southern Operational Command, then Head of Logistics - Deputy Commander of the 6 Army Corps in Dnepropetrovsk, from 2009 to 2017, the Deputy Commander of Land The Armed Forces of Ukraine on logistics, Major General Yuri Tolochny.
- What are the basic needs of troops in the combat zone?
- When entering the winter, it is, above all, fuel for engines. It is necessary to switch to normal winter fuel. On this occasion there have already been a number of scandals. It is also a timely supply of coal and firewood. The completeness of the winter form - which has been changed several times in five years, and its quality to this day leaves much to be desired, although there is progress in comparison with the first samples.
But the key problem issues for the supply of troops now, ironically, are not connected with the ATO zone. The combat zone is under the scrutiny of both military and political leadership, so that the most pressing issues are solved there. It also helps us to stabilize the front line. The units that are rotated are located in the same places, and gradually equipped there the necessary conditions for life and service.
But when it comes to other regions ... In my opinion, the most acute problem now is the camps, where troops are assigned to restore combat capability. These camps are tent, and after a year and a half of exploitation these tents are no longer suitable for life. The second, related question is points of permanent deployment. To date, we have created a whole range of new military formations, but for them it is necessary to create new points of permanent deployment - stationary headquarters, houses for officers, dormitories or improved type barracks with laundries, bathrooms, etc. Otherwise, it turns out that parts of the field conditions at the front are displayed in exactly the same conditions in the rear, which does not allow restoring combat capability.
All this money is allocated catastrophically little. For example, there is a decision of the Minister of Defense to create a military camp at the Wide Lan range until the end of 2017. Initially planned for two brigades, then cut to one. There is still a tent camp, although precast shield barracks should have been built long ago. Construction is proceeding slowly, and the final deadlines for the object are still unclear. In any case, this year it will not be built.
- What needs to be done to resolve these issues?
- First of all, we need a clear understanding of how many such camps we need, and clearly determine their locations. And then start creating a full-fledged, long-term housing and infrastructure there. It is in my opinion, two points hinder this. First, of course, lack of finance. And secondly, in my opinion, often to do something in the ATO zone is loud, “piarno”, it sounds. And the arrangement of districts distant from the region of operations does not give such image, "rating" results. In addition, the creation of a military camp is a long and painstaking, costly process that does not provide instant information returns. Construction of barracks, hostels, houses for officers ... It’s much easier with the goal of “PR”, for example, to create a tank company, or to purchase several dozen cars, and to gain political points on this.
- How can I correct the situation with ammunition? In particular, with the safety of their storage.
- In 2005, a survivability program for bases, warehouses and arsenals was adopted. The first question is that each stock of ammunition should be stored for which it is designed. We must clearly know how much and what we need: troop, operational, strategic reserve. Before the war, all ammunition depots were overloaded - as the combat units were reduced, the divisions were transformed into brigades, etc. their ammunition moved to warehouses. Since then, the war and the pre-war active, albeit rather stupid, disposal of ammunition somewhat improved the situation, but only partially. The second is that the warehouse should have a purpose. That is, if the warehouse is intended for the storage of high-risk ammunition - first of all, reactive - the storage should be at least dumped. And ideally, the ammunition should be in special underground arched vaults. Now you need to throw all the forces on the elimination of open storage areas. They are the most vulnerable to sabotage, and create an increased risk in case of negligence or natural and man-made disasters. In 2008, the fire on the 61 arsenal in Lozovoy began precisely because the open flame — nearby burned leaves — was blown over to openly stored mines that were stored with gunpowder bundles. It was they who caught fire. Fortunately, there were no jet ammunition in this arsenal, and the storehouses were rolled in, so the fragmentation of the fragments amounted to a maximum of 1,5 km, which limited the scale of damage and damage. The same reasons led to the catastrophe in Balakliya. Therefore, it is necessary to bring ammunition storage in compliance with current regulations.
Now that a significant part of the ammunition has been utilized or consumed during the war, a redistribution plan must be drawn up. Some arsenals are empty, others remain overloaded. It is necessary to install object alarm in storages - fire, and motion sensors - and perimeter, with tracking cameras. It is necessary to equip the perimeter - prune trees, if the object is located in the forest, to plow the ground around so that there is no dry grass. You also need to provide reliable perimeter security. After the start of the war, owing to the lack of military units, soldiers from the company’s supernatural units and platoons guarding the bases and arsenals were sent to the resupply, and the protection of the objects is often carried out by the VOKhR. What is WOCM? Pensioners with SKS carbines in Soviet-style bulletproof vests. The dogs needed for protection in the Ground Forces were only in one warehouse. How reliable is this guard? Bases and arsenals should be guarded by special units, trained and equipped with everything necessary.
Also in the composition of the nearest units and subunits should be rapid-response armored personnel groups, which, thanks to the well-established communications, can quickly advance to the arsenal in the event of an attack, and provide defense according to a previously worked out plan. Now, when the main combat units are at the front, there is nothing like this at the points of permanent deployment. The interaction with the Security Service of Ukraine and the police should also be debugged. All employees of bases and arsenals should be checked by these structures.
- Is the process of these changes going on, and if so, how fast?
- The process is on, but wavy. After the next disaster, funds are quickly allocated, but then their volume is reduced, and funding is reduced to a minimum. Then everything repeats again. If you look at funding by year, it is easy to notice the dependence on the state of emergency on various bases and arsenals. In the "quiet" years, I heard from high-ranking military officials the opinion that embankment is "burying money in the ground." Today, funds are partially allocated for signaling - about 10-15% of the need. The reconstruction of the allocated finance is enough, in fact, only to replace floors. A huge problem with the container - because the boxes eventually become useless. Little is allocated for the purchase of small automation equipment, the processing of wooden rafters fire-impregnated, recharging fire extinguishers ... For the construction of new facilities money is not actually allocated. Thus, we have approximately 5-10% of the necessary to solve tactical tasks of ensuring survivability. For strategic purposes - the construction of new storage facilities - no funds are allocated at all.
- How would you rate the project to build a new ammunition plant?
- This is a screaming necessity. The situation with ammunition is very serious. Today there are a number of scarce calibers. Speech and about the rifle, and about artillery and rocket ammunition.
In fact, there is nothing to replenish the ammunition, and it is constantly decreasing. Ukraine produces only small batches. By the nature of the service, I did not deal directly with this issue, but there are some considerations. For example, purchases abroad, which some see as a way out of the situation, will not help to solve this problem - firstly, there are not too many states that can satisfy our need for Soviet-style ammunition - and our weapons remain predominantly Soviet. NATO ammunition does not suit us. Secondly, ammunition is a lethal weapon. The attitude of our Western partners to the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine everyone knows. Knowing our politicians, if large quantities of ammunition were supplied from abroad, this would be accompanied by loud PR actions, so the absence of such noise suggests that such purchases, if any, their volume is insignificant.
The main thing is to competently organize this production, to establish the production of calibers that we need. For small arms, at least close the range of calibers from 5.45 to 14.5 mm. As for the artillery ... Only in the last year has tightened control over the flow of artillery ammunition. Returned supplying and so on. In the first years of the war, the consumption of shells was completely uncontrolled, and enormous.
- When, in your opinion, under the current state of affairs the lack of ammunition will become critical? Provided that the creation of a new production will not move from the dead center.
- I think a year or two. Maximum - three.
- What key problems would you highlight in other types of troops, besides ground?
- In the Navy, the housing issue is very acute. As far as I know, the Air Force has a difficult situation with spare parts and the degree of deterioration of the fleet. They endlessly extend the life of equipment, but you understand - it is one thing to extend the life of, say, a tank, and quite another - an airplane. The consequences of failure are completely different. Therefore, a significant part of the fleet in aviation does not rise into the air. Also, over the years of independence, the airfield network was destroyed.
- You mentioned tanks. What is the situation with armored vehicles?
- In general, the reserve of equipment is still large, but all of this equipment is obsolete, and the potential of modernization is almost exhausted. Some upgrades turn out to be unsuccessful in real combat. For example, the T-64BM “Bulat” tanks, due to their heavy weight and weak engine, turned out to be ineffective, were transferred to the reserve, and replaced with linear T-64. Thus, it is necessary to create new patterns. But there are other problems. BM "Oplot", for example, in the Armed Forces is available in a single copy - at the Kharkov Institute of Tank Forces. So the question is in the possibilities of the state in purchasing, and in the industry, in the mass production of new machines.