Military expert and blogger Alexey arestovich in the first part of an interview with “Apostrophe” told about the situation in the ATO zone, why the Ukrainian army is stronger than Russian, the provision of APU volunteers and the state and consequences of non-constructive position of the West, not daring to put Ukraine lethal weapons.
Svetlana Sheremetyeva: You recently returned from the zone ATO, how would you describe the situation there? According to your observations, how has changed the tactics of the enemy? DRG, provocations, attacks?
Alexey arestovich: What is ATO? There the tasks of the Fourth world war are resolved in the logic of a Third world war means the Second world war and the First world war. It’s a trench war, where every decimeter measured, with the units fighting there for the fourth year, you know every brick here you can stand at least an hour, and then you need to go quickly, go two feet, because that’s what comes. The war is over centimetre. If you want to solve a problem, to move forward, to seize something, it is the mathematical nature of the calculation up to seconds, centimeters. Very few niches that are not occupied, and all the time there is a search for niches where you can move. These niches are evaluated periodically by both parties, moving forward, like under the Stove now. The party figured out the weak point in our positions, came, took, and smoke them out very hard. They had to react quickly to build a defense. And we began to smoke very late. And the story goes on and is still not over yet.
— Still not tired of our units from trench warfare?
— Let me tell you such a terrible thing that civil will hear very unusual: around the ATO, there is a huge myth that “Nashi khloptsi stradaut”, that “Nashi khloptsi ginut”, that “Nashi khloptsi just take”. ATO is a great resort for the boys, a great summer camp. There is a feast of disobedience. They run away from wives, from children, from mothers-in-law, go fry meat and live as a normal Ukrainian Cossack in the steppe. The wind is blowing, there is absolute freedom of thought is simple, clear, consciousness is simple, clear. You shoot, you shoot, you’re a hero, you are loved and respected. And no need to wipe the snot children and deal with the rickety fence at home. I have not seen where any afflicted person. I saw among the soldiers and officers, only people who are in a rush what was happening. They greatly regret that the war will end, I assure you.
Of course, this does not exclude such things as loss when you lose friends, colleagues, just soldiers, countrymen. Yes, it is mourning. But here the mourning male. When men lost comrade is a little bit different mourning than the mourning women, who reigns in the expanse of Ukrainian Internet or in society. And accelerates further to the side. Men’s mourning is very different from the women’s mourning. Here were his teeth, and immediately begins to solve the problem of how to get revenge. A kind of “12 angry men”. And here the lamentations, the tears, the snot, “until our boys are dying” and stuff like that. So what’s going on in the ATO, and what is happening around ATO is radically different. Soldiers are much easier to tolerate the hardships, privations, loss, than a society that lives in absolute safety and comfort, enjoying bezveza, summer and other things, and terrible suffering that someone out there… Is a set of collective psychological complexes and projection of guilt. Of course, we are not fighting, not helping and not even remember that you’re fighting out there, but as soon as someone is killed, we are experiencing so scared, repost and so on. It is merrymaking of the collective unconscious, more to do with having to Freudianism, than to the actual moral situation on the battlefield.
— Back to the question about tactics. What strategy, the Ukrainian units — land war, the same DRG, or something else?
— There is parity, it’s a big chess game. In General, parties do not seek to attack each other to touch. But daily activities or bursts of activity individual commanders or soldiers bring to life the war. Here, for example, is a separ battalion, all was well, they were lazily exchanging fire with ours. Suddenly calls an active separsky or the Russian commander and said: “how long? Why? Let us “dill” saute a little bit.” And leaves some kind of IFV, shoot at our positions. Our offended, I planned this operation for a day or two and punched in response. Three days they mourned, buried their dead, had planned the operation — punched us. So, until you get bored, not yet arrived, the OSCE observers, while senior commanders are not given in caps until the armistice was announced. Silent, I sit, I understand. Then enthusiasts left — and again silence, lazy shooting some. This phenomenon is of the first kind.
© AFP 2017, Aleksey FilippovБлокада at the train station Krivoi Torets of Donetsk region
There is a phenomenon of the second kind, when, for example, the outline of the positions of the system does not satisfy us. Or. For example, we occupied the commanding heights, and the Russians do not like it. Or Vice versa — they occupy the commanding heights, and we are not satisfied. Then carefully counted, organized, accumulate strength, is the interaction, and at some point in the cotton. We jump forward, grab the position (that’s how they are under the Stove jumped) and we read in the media that “Nashi lawn won prosnulsa, zahopili Zholobok, Peremoga”. Indeed, it is a natural “Peremoga” in this framework. And keep happily this Groove, took up positions, leveled, and now there’s good, because we are sitting, for example, above, below, we look far, they can’t bring up reserves, because they immediately fall under our shot. And on this front, such local “Peremoga” is coming. Such “Peremoga” from the beginning of the new year we have seven pieces already. We are moving so deftly.
Often such collisions happen, and using what technique?
Such things as the alignment of the line, capture more active positions — once a month consistently occur somewhere or once in a month and a half. There are daily. There is still a third kind of activity is an endless disturbing effect.
— With what?
— The same reconnaissance and sabotage groups of saboteurs. The army uniform looks from Kiev. And when you introduced, it is very different, with very different logic. For example, the logic of the intelligence unit is radically different from the logic of linear units on both sides. And exploration lives his life, the saboteurs some actions are taken. The infantry just sits there looking at it all and say, “you choked”. Because the intelligence using them was Bang, Bang, shoot, while the infantry catches in response. And this on both sides. Well, there is a gray area between the positions, and there would be an endless task of reconnaissance and sabotage groups, is also a game of chess. They are each other’s figure, caught, trying to break through to the line troops.
— And who is in a more advantageous position?
— We are in a more advantageous.
— The Ukrainians — better soldiers than the Russians. That’s all. There is very clearly evident that the European army is fighting with an Asian. Here we are — European, and they are Asian. We have planning, accuracy, calculation, bid to save the lives of soldiers, very gently it’s all done. Overall we are winning this chess game. They have there a lot of desperation. In my eyes, they climbed through a completely open field, they clicked, and they climbed. For two hours they climbed, until you have calmed down, you know. I understand the “greatness” of the “Russian world” in this place and at this time, because it is four bodies, and they continue to climb in full growth on a completely flat field. Snipers are another “pop”, waiting 40 minutes is a new climb. This “great” people.
— So this is courage or stupidity?
Is a Russian style of warfare.
— What staffing?
— On their part is anyone. The fact that local, Donetsk or Luhansk, or killed long ago, or figured out where it all leads. And they are recruited in these 1st and 2nd army corps (the so-called DND and LNR “Apostrophe”), then try to stick to non-combat specialties mainly: the driver, the storekeeper, something. They are not very willing to climb in the first line. In the first line of the local is mostly marginalized the audience, drunks, drug addicts or completely underclass people, and there is nothing to lose, the homeless with guns. By my conservative estimate, 300 people per month are imported from Russian mercenaries to replenish losses and enhance the units, because these two buildings are not deployed across the state, actually. They can’t fill their own structure. And, despite the desperate measures, is becoming more and more Russians. A year ago, the ratio in any company, the team was 40: 60, now 70 to 30 in average, i.e. 30 and 70 Russians.
© RIA Novosti, Igor Maslov | go to fotomonster-I appeal to the people of Donetsk to world leaders
— And what are the motives they have?
— There are ideological, there is nothing to eat just and there is absolutely degraded elements. There are people who are happy would be fought on our side, just so the lot fell they on that already. They do not care where to call. There is such an audience that has no king in the head, no country, no understanding of the Motherland, nor the logic of these processes. Pay the money — what’s the difference?
The Russians are there more and more. I mean not regular parts, which are held mainly on the depth and occasionally. There are Russian regular elements is saturated with existing housing — 1st and 2nd. This group, which recently caught the 93rd brigade, which was the standard Russian military spetsnaz Ageev and three local — this is a rough scenario for those units. The saddle is there a regular Russian officers, generals, colonels. Approximately to the level of platoon commander for the majority there is Russian staff officers, in the form of vacationers or travelers. And somewhere in the units of the ratio is very different: sometimes 20 to 80, 80 to 20 is highly dependent on the specific units, their relations with Russia, with Moscow.
— Have you remembered Ageeva is one of the high-profile cases, but he, of course, is not unique. Who are these people in the total mass? It is the soldiers or officers?
— Can be simple, there are difficult. Me experts captured, every time different. And these doctors who are lost, the Russian staff officers. Fornication, on the day of the doctor was pribludy to our. Really captured the Russians captured much more than that left in the media. Just have the logic of intelligence, logic of politics, the logic of exchange, and not all cases get in the media. It’s not a lot of cases, but dozens.
— And our?
Our goes out to them too, but all these cases are very well known. Ukraine is a European army, open society. Or, at least, society is going to this, we are not hiding any losses or getting captured, immediately becomes clear.
— Loss isn’t hidden? Aren’t they more than they’re saying?
— No, they are no more. We have a precision to one known, and in the same day it becomes known. Even loss of the special forces, for example, which in principle should be hidden, and in a few hours known, because none of the volunteer do not shut your mouth, all the phones, someone will write to inform the relatives and so on.
© RIA Novosti, stringer | go to photobacteria security forces before sending in the South-East of Ukraine
We are already talking with you about staffing. Often say that we didn’t complete army, but harmoniously. What is the situation in reality?
— Look, I to you will reveal terrible secret: there is no one equipped army in the world, they are always understaffed. Because keeping the deployed state is very expensive. No one can not afford. Even warring countries have never been completed. Even the Soviet Union could not afford, even America can’t afford to keep fully staffed part. There’s always a place to refill. Another thing, is it understaffed challenges.
The army has a shortfall. But the post-Soviet States (Russia, Ukraine and so on), in which military tasks more than their sociosystems opportunities, primarily economic, it is very difficult to provide a full set of desired capabilities. When you type of apocalyptic forecasts of the deployment of three tank armies on the border with Ukraine from Russia — I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, because no three of Russian army would not be deployed in it and one will not deploy. Russia as a social system cannot give the required amount of fighters. Well, imagine how much the Russian paid ordinary contractor? Well, a thousand dollars — with all the allowances may fall in this figure. The guy who goes 20 years in the army, will fall either to the Caucasus or to Syria or to Ukraine. With a very unpleasant life prospects. And learned to be a programmer, he’s in Perm will get 2 or 3 thousands of dollars without risking anything, going to discos, dancing with the girls, relaxing with friends, playing computer games. In the same war playing on the computer. So it should force to join the army?
— You are contradicting yourself, because earlier you said that the ATO is a resort.
— ATO — resort, but not all boys are like this. And so the social system as a whole, which is Ukraine or Russia, is unable to perform his military “wishlist” for picking personnel. We have raised a salary, receives an ordinary 7200 UAH now. Against the 1000 unhappy, which had mobilized the military salary has increased 7 times. And the average salary in Ukrainian villages how much? 1600, 2200 — Yes, go and find the work. It is not there. What do you do? To sit, to sleep there. So they all went into the army, they’re heroes and they get good salary. But, you see, and this jump (and it was a macro-action that we took) is not enough to fully staff the Armed forces.
And people refer to their commanders, on the return of the Soviet system — the reason is always there. But the sum of these reasons often is the reluctance to break his life to serve in the army, to change their plans, for example, when you make a system career. The programmer, who pulled at least a year or two, not to mention three, from the profession will be to catch up with the rest of my life. It is very difficult to return. And so in almost any profession. What is the option? To become a professional soldier. The professional is which is at least 5-7 years, better 10. But people who understand what it takes to sacrifice, can put public interest above self-interest, subordinate to this family life and to leave the army for 10 years, very little. 40 million people in the country Ukraine can produce 300 thousand of these visitors. So you have to resort to all sorts tricks. In General, staffing is always a problem. Not to mention the fact that we have an army of the transitional type. We have lieutenants do captains, captains, Lieutenant colonels, colonels and generals. This is a different logic, they are differently educated. A lot of nuances.
© AP Photo Evgeniy MaloletkaКолонна with the Ukrainian military near Marinka
Now Yuri Butusov presented the pilot of su-25, which in the beginning of the war in 2014, made 33 sorties, have shown skill, is considered one of the best pilots, actually attacked the Russian regular parts, covering the exit from Ilovaysk, showed miracles — that he retired from the army. When asked why not? He says, according to Butusova that children not see the third year that the family is falling apart, and that she wanted to become a pilot of civil aviation and to pay more attention to the family. On the one hand, in the interests of the state and society? So he remained a pilot and served another 15 years, because it is a gold Fund, he will give experience to the young officers. And a person with a personal desire to see the family. And you know why? Because the state can not provide, for example, the relevant terms: moving, housing, align the daily routine of an officer so that he paid more attention to the family infrastructure. For example, to make sure that children could get a proper education so he did not sacrifice the level of education of their children, to come up with employment of his wife, which sits in a remote military garrison, where the dog want to howl at the moon, and the rickety fence. And that she could somehow her female human destiny align. The government can not do this due to: a) poor, b) lack of desire) for economic reasons. That’s why the footage is so washed out and lost. But to say that the situation is catastrophic, or highly problematic, impossible. There is enough for the solution of the existing problems, sufficiently-staffed departments. Now, if you have to go on the offensive or, conversely, to repel the attack, then Yes, there is a problem. Then just be declared mobilization, we will package the army.
— As for supply units?
It is also very different.
— How it is able and the role of volunteers in all this? It seems that volunteers help more than the government in ensuring.
— Is the architecture of supply is as big as a large house. And there are some basic things that any volunteers will not do, because to purchase 1000 tons of fuel the volunteers will not be able in any case. And there are, for example, things that plug, the state: small UAVs, quadcopters, and so on. It’s volunteers bring.
— And a thermal imager?
— The state buys the cameras, but the volunteers are, first, they began to buy three years earlier, and secondly, they do it all faster, because the budget cycle of the state — from 6-9 months to a year. That is, the state a need that you have identified, can realize 9 months later, and the volunteers ordered — in a month he brought in, and even faster. So many things to plug volunteers. And, again, the same cartridges for rifles 338 or 308 caliber, the state does not buy or buys limited. Weapons and ammunition for training and combat operation is largely volunteer work. In addition, the kit, you tore it up, wearing out, or something else, until you get from the state, you’ll lose. As a volunteer you four sets will bring the first request, because volunteers generally now support a specific unit or multiple units, they all know personally. And there quickly implement applications. The power of the state — the magnitude, and the power of volunteers — in expediting, they quickly bring what you need.
— What about modern technology?
Well, volunteers do not create a new multi-role fighter. It’s only a matter of the state. Modern technology is a huge amount of money, and the big question — where and what equipment we need. We have before our eyes the model of the Soviet army, a scary mechanized, but the Soviet Union 20% of their huge income, the second economy in the world spent on military equipment. Even many NATO countries now rely on Soviet equipment, the same poles, they have mechanized army the basic combat unit is the BMP-1, old as manure of a mammoth, 60-ies of the machine.
Our Armed forces is far less saturated with technology than in the Soviet army. And it doesn’t have to be rich, we can’t afford it economically. You need to look for a creative solution. Standard solution is, for example, anti-tank precision-guided weapons, anti-tank systems that we have produced. And that is why they are so slowly produced, the same “Stugna” (anti-tank missile system — “Apostrophe”) and all the rest — is a big question.
— But mostly in the Ukrainian army old weapons?
— Well, it’s very different. There is a hodgepodge: there is a “Maxim” of the First world war, and there are ultra-modern rifles that not every special forces of NATO’s war boasts. It’s all very different.
— What is the need for foreign technology?
The most popular is closed means of communication that provide classified digital communication. The supply of the same radios Harris American has radically changed the situation in some niches, completely changed the nature of warfare. There is such a thing, which in NATO terminology is called game-changing weapon (the weapon that changes the rules of the game). It’s not such a big range of weapons, there are 10-15 positions. And if they come, where they come, they are radically changing the nature of warfare in our favor. And bargaining with Western countries is just about the weapons.
— This technique is the enemy?
— Of course, for some niches they are superior to us. West — no, but we’re outnumbered. It is primarily the systems of electronic intelligence, electronic warfare, unmanned aerial vehicles, some artillery, and so on.
And lethal weapons?
— We need attack drones, anti-tank and guided guided artillery shells, for example.
For any specific units or in General?
— In principle, the army needed to fill. The team should be, then if we can buy a new one, then it is down to battalion level, then to the company level and down. That’s the way how to put these radars, counterbattery American. It is a device that allows taking off the shells while they are still in the air are on a trajectory to shortchange, where he was made a volley, and open fire on the enemy before he has time to change position. But, first, they put us radars that operate only 20 km away and there are radars that operate on 120 km And, secondly, a team, relatively speaking, and the team there should be six, and with a greater range of work. Here it is about it. If they go into service, it will radically change the situation in the artillery duels in our favor. What can the West do? It can make some strong moves to supply weapons that will fundamentally change the course of the conflict in our favor. And after some time, six months, for example, the ratio of losses and efficiency of action will be such that the party will be forced to abandon what she’s doing…
— How is that possible?
— Of course, maybe because it lost all military efficiency. They carry a very big loss, really big. Much more than we do. But they can afford it yet. Roughly speaking, the ratio of effectiveness and costs — that’s about that. Each delivery us new weapons and effective its use is changing this relationship. In the end, it can level off and continue to change. That is, they will take this war to carry higher costs than the effects that they get. Then they will wonder at the state strategic level, how they need it. And this is absolutely non-constructive position of the West, who supply us with lethal weapons, leads to the fact that we pay our soldiers ‘ lives and resources for the position of the West, associated with the us non-lethal weapons so far.
— What is this position of the West?
— The West is doing any action, even the supply of a matchbox, only within the defined strategy. And the West is the brake. When Putin made a speech in Munich? In 2007. Now — 2017. Ten years have passed, and they only begin to guess that Putin launched a campaign against the West. Is the speed of the reaction of state institutions and expert community, somewhere in the 10-12 years it takes, unfortunately. Humanity is so constituted.
In Ukraine, too, want to live in Europe and do not think that there is a war, not to think on the subject. The speed of our processes is delayed by 2-3 years. We are starting to do now what you could do three years ago. But we do even though we’re a belligerent. Here we have considered that the state — like and malicious “seraglio” and society is all the advanced. Really — exactly the opposite. We have a society for 2-3 years in the understanding of the processes behind what makes the country’s top leadership. But it is, our guide, is late regarding what could be done. The situation with the loss of officers shows that even the intelligence officers tend to relax, NAP and do not understand what means and what war is. The situation with the cyber attack, for example, and so on, so forth.
Issue of the visa regime with Russia, which had a long time to do it all yet. Good news for the Ukrainians is that the West slows down much more. But now he started to think he had a strategy. Fortunately, Putin throws firewood and gives the West an opportunity to think faster, holding the same doctrines “the West-2017”, which is scheduled in a month (in Belarus, “Apostrophe”). And they pose a direct threat to Poland and the Baltic States. Then they thought: “Maybe you need something to do?”