Read original article at radiosvoboda.org
As a result of military aggression of Russia against Ukraine, NATO has frozen military cooperation with Moscow. The Russian Defense Ministry has no funds to build modern combat unmanned vehicles, and yet, according to the General Staff of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, near the Ukrainian border Russia focuses tanks, and in the Rostov region equips new depots to speed up delivery of weapons and ammunition at Donbas. A parade in Moscow on May 9 experts called "a demonstration of military power of the Kremlin."
Could Russia, given the continuation of economic sanctions, keep militarization of the economy on the high level to meet the needs aggressive foreign policy?
According to the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI), Russia ranked third in the world for the cost of the military sphere.
And if the 2015, Russia has used more than 66 billion US dollars from the budget on the development of the defense sector, then in 2016 - slightly less than 70 billion dollars. Thus Russia, unlike other countries whose budget depends on oil sales, did not reduce defense spending, and vice versa - they increased the expense of other budget items.
Economic sanctions against Russia did not currently stop, only slow down the process of modernizing its armed forces and increasing the military presence around the world. Imposed sanctions and "freezing" of Kremlin's cooperation with NATO has not prevented Russians to build military base on the border with NATO member countries, in Syria and in the Arctic.
As stated former Foreign Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Ogryzko at the international conference "Russian activity in the Arctic,", Moscow tries to encircle NATO members and their partners and strengthen its military presence both in neighbor countries and in the far abroad.
"Russia is building its base on the Franz Josef Archipelago. Russia is building military bases on Sedov archipelago and the Loop Island", Ogryzko cites examples of Arctic militarization by Russia.
Ukraine: the way from repairing old equipment to building modern army
Results of the army and defense industry activities in Russia affect Ukrainians: despite claims about its alleged "innocence" regarding events in Donbas, Russia continues to supply the occupied part of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as annexed Crimea, with modern weapons and ammunition.
As stated one of the leaders of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev, Russia deployed six nuclear warheads on the Crimean peninsula.
In these circumstances, to resist appropriately to one of the most powerful armies in the world, Ukraine must improve its defense, which involves not only the training of qualified military personnel but also military equipment modernization and use of modern weapons, experts say.
Ukraine’s public spending on defense would be not less than 5 percent of GDP this year - more than 129 billion UAH. Of these about 9 billion would be used on weapons for the army, the president Poroshenko said.
"Last year about 2,500 samples of the new modernized and repaired weapons and military equipment were delivered for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. About 15 thousand units of weapons and military equipment were repaired by military units. This year, it is provided to allocate about 9 billion UAH for the development and purchase of new and modernized weapons systems and military equipment. Ukraine never done this before", - said Poroshenko.
According to him, the main objectives of military sphere leaders – is to ensure proper control over the use of "every penny" of these funds.
Ukrainian army now has "eyes" and "ears"
During the confrontation with Russian army Ukraine is not just learned how to defend itself, but also how to lead reconnaissance, using modern technology. During the "hybrid war" in Ukraine the next generation of fighters gained new knowledge and combat experience, among them - representatives of the so-called "intelligent army" who are fighting against Russian aggression in the sphere of modern electronics and communications.
And suddenly for the organizers and participants of the Hackathon-2017 NATO traditional competition, Ukrainian team won in two categories.
Ukraine for the first time took part in this competition; it was the only team that represented the country partner of NATO. In fact, Ukrainian "battle nerds" - are the "eyes" and "ears" of modern defense.
"In Soviet Union times Military Complex was oriented at interagency work of military and scientific complex, which was" assembled "from various parts scattered throughout the USSR. Having inherited a part of MIC, we remain hostage to such industrial cooperation. But the presence of de facto military conflict with Russia has forced us to move away from that and focus on other opportunities and other market and supply modern weapons for the defense sector. Yes, and we have something to offer: don’t forget that Ukraine until 2013 was in the top ten arms manufacturers in the world "- adds founder of Aero reconnaissance project Andriy Khazin.
Today Ukrainian defense complex is much more autonomous and not dependent on cooperation with the aggressor, which positively affects the combat capability of the army, as well as training with instructors from NATO, stressed the expert.
As stated one of the founders of the League of Defense of Ukraine, the military analyst Valentyn Badrak, Ukraine can defeat the Russian army in case of implementing deep reforms in all spheres, ensuring the rights of investors (ready to support defense companies of the country). Equally important he sees carrying out modernization and increasing capacity of the defense sector.
"We mentioned several issues: first - to promote the adoption of some important laws. This is the law of the creation and production of military equipment, investment protection law or a public-private partnership; law on military-technical cooperation. The second important element – is the empowerment of public-private partnerships to joint projects of state enterprises where private defense companies will participate in large projects, invest with guarantee of the return of these investments and be a full participant of the process of upgrading the Armed Forces of Ukraine ", said Badrak.
So the defense of Ukraine, the process of overcoming the external enemy – is a joint venture of the state and society, experts emphasize.