Speaking at a forum on security defense issues earlier this week, Ukrainian Ground Forces acting head of logistics command Ivan Voloh complained that many problems have been identified with Ukrainian weapons and military equipment, including the BTR-4E, an 8x8 wheeled armored personnel carrier, the 120mm 'Molot' mortar system and the KBA-48, another mortar.
Voloh noted that the serious flaws in the mortars' design and build quality were not only causing them to become useless in battle, but leading to battlefield casualties (including seven personnel killed), five of them in the ongoing civil war in eastern Ukraine. As for the BTR-4E, the official complained that the vehicle has proven itself to be the most problematic piece of equipment in Ukraine's arsenal, with frequent failures leaving dozens of machines out of whack.
The Armed Forces' complaints about the state of their weapons comes amid recent boasting by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who said at a forum in the UK last month that together with anti-Russian sanctions, "the resistance of the Ukrainian army" is "the only reason Russian tanks are not much further into Europe."
Independent observers have chalked the failures of Kiev's military campaign against its eastern breakaways down to immense corruption, low morale due to forced conscription, and, as fate would have it – poor training and equipment. As for the claims of a Russian presence in eastern Ukraine, analysts pointed to the Russian anti-terrorist operation in Syria, saying that it was a demonstration of how the modern Russian military actually operates, in case anyone in Kiev has any doubts.
"To be honest, I was a little surprised," Perendzhiev admitted. "Officials had long been silent on this issue. The fact that they are speaking about this now – I would say there are two points here: The first is that the leadership of the military understands why their equipment is of substandard quality: the budget is simply being stolen, while soldiers and officers are used as a bargaining chip. On their health, and sometimes even their lives, those who manufacture these weapons and military equipment are making a profit. And they are trying to convey this fact to the top military and political leaders."
The second issue, according to the expert, has to do with the fact that while the military has been given its marching orders, "there's really no [tools] with which to actually fight. Realizing these problems, in my opinion, is what caused this public commentary."
In the meantime, Perendzhiev recalled, officials in Kiev continue with their bombastic rhetoric about the creation of new, cutting edge military equipment and weapons systems.
"Kiev will say that they have a hundred tanks, but in reality, only two of them will be capable of driving, and one of them capable of shooting. I would call this a PR stunt, Ukrainian-style," the expert said.
"Something similar is happening in Ukraine; except whereas everyone [in the West] is paying attention to North Korea for some reason, in the case of Ukraine they think that everything is fine," Perendzhiev concluded.