January 12, 2014
Translated from Russian by J. Hawk
Battalion commanders against Poroshenko—Scandal in Ukrainian Army.
A grandiose scandal broke out within the ranks of the Ukrainian Army: its battalion commanders literally spat in the face of the President of Ukraine.
The scandal broke out around the “new equipment” that was transferred with such fanfare by Poroshenko to the armed forces. Ukrainian press published information that battalion commanders refused to sign documents accepting the transfer of the tanks which they received directly from the president. Newspaper Podrobnosti, citing volunteer Konstantin Zinkevich, reports that the Ukrainian army received armored junk instead of modern weaponry.
On his Facebook page Zinkevich wrote: “One could detect the hand of the armored vehicle repair facility only in the fresh paint, which was nevertheless placed on a still-wet tank. As a result it is peeling when you touch it.” Moreover, the volunteer claimed that one of the commanders of the 51st Brigade decided to return the tanks to Poroshenko.
This information was confirmed by the Presidential Administration office. In particular, president’s advisor Yuriy Biryukov announced that commanders of one of the battalions refused to sign acceptance documents for the tanks.
Biryukov also claimed that other equipment met all standards. He also remarked that he intends to hear reports from the commanders concerning the condition of the equipment received.
One should note that this is not the first scandal around equipment being supplied to the Ukrainian military. Recently a Ukrainian soldier wrote on social media that the hand grenades his unit received had severe defects. According to the soldier, many of the “new” grenades fail to explode.
This is not surprising, considering the state of the equipment that would have to be restored, the condition of the Ukrainian defense industry (even Iraq returned a batch of Ukrainian APCs due to their low quality), and of course the corruption. So it is entirely possible to blow billions of dollars of Western aid on attempts to rearm, and have it yield only pathetic results.
That incidents like those undermine the military’s faith in their commander in chief should not go unnoticed. If the Right Sector, for example, were to ride a wave of popular discontent all the way into power, would the military lift a finger to defend the current regime? Unlikely, given how shoddily it is being treated.