The chief of the General staff of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko and Secretary of the national security Council and defense of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov announced that in March 2014, the APU was planning a special operation in the Crimea on the eve of the pseudo-referendum.
Then interim leadership of the country decided not to take this step, pseudoreference was held, and Crimea — annexed by the Russian Federation. Without firing a shot.
How could the events develop, if the plan was still implemented? Whether there was at Ukraine a chance to avoid the occupation of the Peninsula? Can the same plan be implemented in today’s environment, what would be the result?
This in an interview with “observer” said Colonel General retired, former chief of the General staff of the armed forces, former first Deputy Minister of defence of Ukraine Anatoly Lopata.
Tatiana Gajewska: Could such an operation to change the situation? Was it possible to prevent occupation of the Ukrainian Peninsula?
Lopata: Certainly. In his book “the Hour I svidomist” I have dealt with these issues. It is the blackest page in the history of the Armed forces of Ukraine. I think, in the history of modern Ukraine this will also be a black page, because we had absolutely all possibilities to protect the Crimea.
Although will the leadership of the country at that time was not primarily from the Council of national security and defense and on the part of Turchynov. And the leadership of the Ministry of defence was treacherous.
However, the military understood its task, and we had enough forces and means to prevent capture, first of all, the Supreme Council of Crimea. I think the inactivity of the country’s top leadership led to the loss of the Crimea.
— Do you think that there might be some response to Russia’s actions?
No Russian response would not be. Understand this capture was prepared several years — prepared personnel. First, a huge mistake was, that soldiers who served in the Crimea, recruited from the local inhabitants. This can not be allowed. And the second is the dislocation of the two navies in Sevastopol. She could contribute to the strengthening of friendship and cooperation, but in no case did not give the chance to the Ukrainian Navy to develop themselves in readiness to defend their country from possible threats from the Russian Federation. It was also a big mistake.
But in this case I can assure you: we could not hand over the Crimea in that period of time. I had to act, but nobody acted.
Commanders of units deployed in the Crimea, were ordered not to shoot, not to defend, despite the fact that each of them had to protect his part to the last.
— Who gave them the order not to resist?
This command came from the leaders of the naval forces that were there, and of the land forces, air defense units, which are stationed there.
— That is, all the military leadership of the Crimea was a de facto fifth column, traitors?
— Yes, of course. Half the people crossed to the other side. But they would never do if I was hard work on the part of the Ministry of defence.
— If leadership positions were easy for other people — patriots of Ukraine — it would have been otherwise?
— Of course! And Lebedev, and Solomatin on the post of Minister of defense of Ukraine were volunteers of the Russian Federation. And fleet commander Berezovsky. They did their job, did it well. Crimea surrendered without firing a shot. That’s the whole picture.
First, commanders and ships of the fleet withdrew, but later came the command to return it. And they were locked. All this is contrary to the military regulations of military units and ships.
— If our military in the Crimea acted in the interests of Ukraine, was it possible completely to avoid a military confrontation?
— No, the military confrontation could not be avoided. But we would have enough forces and means to counter this. Because the same picture was in 1994. Was excessive voltage to the use of weapons, but, nevertheless, the ships took the Ukrainian oath.
— Whether to apply the plan, which said Muzhenko, today?
In my opinion, today it is very difficult without international support, without renewal of sanctions. This task is not today. Must pass years.
— Do you think today we can’t just land troops in the Crimea?
— No. In any case.
— What is the main obstacle to this?
— Lost time.