ATO veteran Kirill Sergeev is sure that Russia will not be able to conquer Ukraine. In a new conversation, he talks about the experience of the war in Donbas in 2014, where he participated as a volunteer. He also told how he sees the deployment of the Territorial Defense of Ukraine and what the veterans are doing. Kirill Sergeyev also explained how the state should put out the anxious moods of Ukrainians and why he considers our time to be a great chance for Ukraine.
REFERENCE: Kirill Sergeev - Head of the ATO Veterans Society, PhD in Law, attorney. During the Maidan, Kirill left his business. Fought as a volunteer in "Aidar". Later, he led the initiative to unite veterans into a political force, but Kirill calls his main achievement the organization of the first accelerated courses for ATO veteran reserve officers, which he himself graduated from. Received the rank of junior lieutenant.
Hello friends! We continue our conversations and today our guest is ATO veteran Kirill Sergeev.
Why did I call Kirill? Last week I interviewed volunteer officer Arty Green, Eugene, and this conversation caused a great resonance. Why such an interest? It is obvious. The country is under the most powerful pressure. The Russians are threatening, these threats are pouring in every day, and many people are starting to rush about in a panic or try to put together a picture of what this is fraught with for Ukraine.
Arty Green is an officer of a fairly high level, he reassured the public, that the situation is different in comparison to 2014, the country, despite the bunch of problems that exist today, it prepared differently and there are no good chances for the Russians, in principle, under any scenario. That is, there are no positive options for them to get out of the situation, even if they go deep here, launch some kind of missile strikes, and so on.
I am interested in your understanding of our today's context through the prism of the experience that you had in 2014...
Yes, in 2014.
Tell me how you fought.
I volunteered in May 2014, for Aidar. By the way, "Aidar", especially the early "Aidar" of 2014, is the most striking example in answering the question of panic. What is panic and how to respond to it. Then we had a situation. We arrived in the village of Polovinkino near Starobelsk, which is the north of the Luhansk region, that is, from there we turned around and started. There were still few weapons, they brought them to us. We are just a newly formed battalion, about half of which were only given machine guns. Although the border already passed under Novoaidar. We are 20 kilometers from the front and only half of us have machine guns. And then someone saw another bus of Chechens, separatists nearby. Everybody was shouting - there will be a night assault. Some guys with machine guns ran to look for positions, some without machine guns began to sharpen shovels. And they sat all night, there was no assault. In the morning, they began to recall this story with laughter, regarding sharpening shovels. And after that we had such a common phrase, the expression "to sharpen shovels." It meant panicking about the announcements, panicking about some news of an attack, but this was not the first situation. Then there were more, again someone saw someone, someone heard intelligence conversations. Again, everyone sat overnight and over time it began to turn into such an effect "Wolves, wolves." There is a cry "There will be an attack at night!". "Well, I won't go this time. I already spent last night on the roof, no one attacked." This demoralization took place before story when in May 2014 there was a checkpoint near Volnovakha, when the soldiers of the 51st brigade died.
Yes. When Bezler attacked.
We heard that news, and what did we see? The fighters did not disguise themselves, they did not hide, they generally sat down with their backs to the road in conditions of war. They showed incredible negligence. Alien buses drove up to them, they didn’t even react. They were just shot. And then we realized that there are two extremes in the war - negligence-extreme and panic-extreme. What happened then? We calculated a possible scenario for an attack on our unit, our actions for each of these scenarios, worked out our roles, who, where, in what situation, how we know about it. When everyone knew their role, what to do, in this situation, the panic disappeared and the ordinary, everyday life of the military unit began, and further management began.
Panic does not occur where bad news or announcements are given, panic comes from a person's greatest fear - the unknown. When a person is told "There is a threat", but does not know how to behave if it comes. If you want to avoid panic, give people the answer to this question. Give the answer to the housewife where the bus will be, which will evacuate her, and where it will take her, she will prepare the backpack, and will go to cook and eat calmly, and she will no longer panic. Give an answer to a person who is motivated for war, how to join, whom in the early stages, and he will know that in one situation he runs here, in another there, and he will go to work, he will be calm, he won’t even buy dollars. This is the question of panic, a vivid example of war.
As for the second question, how real is the threat. But I always say, guys, if there was an algorithm to calculate when there would be a war, the state would not spend a lot of money on the constant maintenance of the army. It is never known when the war will come and from where, therefore, each state must always be ready for war. We heard that there were announcements that Russia was going to attack Sweden, there were no announcements, but in Sweden all bomb shelters have been in perfect condition for decades, and the army is always ready. No one has attacked Switzerland for more than a century, in my opinion, but every person has weapons at home, there is ammunition and there is knowledge and understanding of where he is going in such a situation.
This is a normal approach of any state, so we need to do something here... Well, I think in general that this is a certain flaw in the authorities. They did not deliver information to the people.
A programmer calls me today, or rather not today, the day before yesterday. He says: "I bought a rifle, I'm ready to defend." And I say: "Why don't you go to the military registration and enlistment office?". And he says: “I don’t know, I was removed from the military register in my youth for flat feet, for something else. I don’t even know what kind of military enlistment office I have.” And, he says, well, it was when he changed his residence permit and went there. Why are you sure that all people know about the military registration and enlistment office, the recruitment procedure for territorial defense? No, not all.
Yes, the majority doesn't know.
The majority doesn’t know, and it is the mistake of the authorities that they did not deliver this. Today, if you do not want people to run away, buy dollars, panic, come to the people and do normal work with the population. Evacuation training, mobilization training. And when people know what to do in this announcement, they will stop panicking at the announcement and will lead a normal life.
Look, here's a clarifying question. I think it is very important. Is this the line that Zelensky chose today? When there were two of these appeals of his last, and he says that like everything is fine, kebabs, barbecue, everything will be fine, life will not change, and so on. Then the second, last message, the messages are also the same: filter out informational messages that are fanning this panic, trust only official statements. Here in your opinion, how justified is such a line under the current conditions. Perhaps it is necessary just to explain to people the whole complexity of the situation, without hiding the truth, because in fact, most people understand very well that Russia is threatening, yes, this threat can turn into something more than just this conflict in Donbas, it can really strike. And then this logic that you are talking about, if deployed, it, in principle, will calm the population.
I had such a life example, I was still a student, I was probably eighteen or nineteen years old, I tried to get a job on the radio, a DJ. I remember this selection very well then, they put me in front of the microphone, I kept talking and talking, everything was fine until one moment, until the one who was sitting at the control panel said: “Don’t be nervous.” From that moment I started to get nervous. I remember this effect.
You won’t calm people down with words. If the housewife still does not know how she will be evacuated, then these words are just another reminder for her that the situation exists. Either she needs not to be reminded and then she calms down a little there, but this is also not normal, or she needs to be ready. Yes, today, I know, there is the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Emergency Service, they are preparing for various turns of events, and for the evacuation of the population, but again, if... People keep calling me "What should we do in these situations?". They call me because I am a veteran in their environment. This is a certain status, and this, by the way, must also be understood.
Now we have started working with veterans with the phrase "Guys let's work out the moments. People are turning to you, what to say, because now it will start." And thank God, at least our fighters have already begun... We have an information wave in the veterans' movement, how to coordinate people, what to answer them. Because really people call veterans, acquaintances, friends of veterans. Here, thank God, at least we have worked out this moment for ourselves in the context of coordination.
Words will not give anything, we need normal actions, we need to work out scenarios. Sorry, today, how can you say even to a person who is motivated to fight conditionally: "Don't be nervous." Yes, for two weeks now he has been trying to collect a package of documents in order to come to the defense, because in the face of the threat of an offensive, as they say, they wrote such a package, pieces of paper, and so on. We had a principle in the war about medicine, first you need to stop the blood, we will cure sepsis later. This is an algorithm of actions, and if suddenly you even have a threat of an offensive, then really first work out coordination with the entire population, and then, while there is time, gradually carry out legal procedures: registration, and do not discard everyone who does not have a piece of paper in the spirit there: "Go see a psychiatrist, please."
A friend of mine recently said a cool phrase to me in response: “What if there are boozers at checkpoints.” And he says, "Yes, the boozer is also a combat unit, if there is a war." And if there is no war, you first agree with the boozer, and then, when you have time, you will filter him. I like approaches of veterans now. We have such a huge coordination throughout Ukraine. The veterans worked out three scenarios for themselves.
The first scenario is the usual mobilization of the operational reserve. Well, wait, it will take a few days before the presidential decree, until it comes out, about mobilization. What are we going to do these days? They started working for themselves. I was recently in Kharkiv with veteran organizations. We know who will help with the evacuation of the civilian population in which yards, give trite advice, and take these issues upon ourselves. We know who will go where, who will support the National Police in groups. They have already worked everything out for themselves, and they are going to act calmly.
The second scenario is if the mobilization is disrupted, the sabotage and reconnaissance group seized our military registration and enlistment offices, I will no longer be mobilized as an operational reserve. There is a plan of action here.
And the third scenario - when everything has already been thwarted. And there is no army, everyone fled, and the Russians come in. And here they are ready to give resistance and help people organize themselves. We can say it's panic. No, it's not panic. This is the usual preparation. They worked out plans for themselves and that's all, and now they sleep peacefully, because they know in what situation, when to run, and they will react if the situation comes. It won't - good.
Today I also gave the example of a friend who came, he called me an alarmist. I returned from the war, immediately collected an alarming suitcase for myself. I bought a bulletproof vest, a helmet and put it down. I always have all my documents in this backpack. And he came so upset, he said, listen, if I had this, I would not have avoided another situation. I thought you were an alarmist, waiting for the war. And he had a fire at home, and there was time, but he did not have time to collect the documents. I say guys, just keep all the documents, things in one place, this is a common security situation.
But this is the effect, often civilians in conditions all over the world suffer from it at the beginning of wars, they are used to focusing on society, explosions begin, this is how it falls before the eyes of society. This is ugly, you will be an alarmist, but what if it is a firecracker, until it reaches the stage when you already stop reacting to it. And so many people are now. I say, pack yourself an alarming suitcase, just keep the bag. Maybe you will also have a fire, maybe somewhere a factory will explode. You are waiting for war, and you have a man-made disaster. Well, as in 1986 in Chernobyl, people too ...
And keep the tank full. So that you have a full tank.
Just prepare everything for yourself and be calm. This is not difficult. Many do not do this, so as not to appear alarmist. Well, okay . Sorry. Remember, there is such a terribly cynical thing. I will say that many will not like it, it is cynical, but I say: “Remember, when a soldier dies, this is news on central television channels, this is statistics. Peaceful people dying in the war, this is statistics in school history textbooks. "I say, guys, either you prepare well and everything will be fine with you, or, excuse me, then somewhere out there you will simply increase this one into an article in future history textbooks.
But still, I think these are the flaws of the state. The state must work with the mobilization potential, with territorial defense. And how do we lose volunteers now? Let's take this programmer. He did not serve, he is not a veteran, but he is now motivated to fight, he is a potential volunteer. Well, take him into account, establish contact with him, communication, he will be needed in a real war, and he runs around not knowing where to go, with whom to coordinate.
Remember, whenever the first bomb has fallen, if a person knows, a potential volunteer, who he is going with, where he is going and what he is doing, he will go to war. If he does not have the answers to these three questions, he will flee the city. Not because he is a coward, but because he does not have an understanding of the interactions, of this role. Therefore, it is important to use this potential. You don’t spend money on him, you don’t waste time, but if the situation really comes up, he will play a role.
The question is. You mentioned territorial defense. How do you generally look at the launch of this project? How do you assess its potential?
I have a dual role. On the one hand, an insider, because I have been dealing with the topic of the defense, its systematization since 2015 and now I actively maintain communication with the command of the defense.
On the other hand, I also observe this from the side of the veteran movement. In brief. The system itself is reasonable. Here is its general form. There are three structures. There is "Rukh support" - these are, in essence, potential partisans in the event of the occupation of cities. It is completely secret. This is what the Special Operations Forces are doing. No one knows who these people are, their number, but even in my communication at the level of issues that are not related to state secrets, with the command of the Special Operations Forces, I have a very optimistic perception of how it is unfolding. They really approached the issue seriously, they work with fighters, work with cities. That is, I already understand that we have quite a considerable potential of partisans in each city worked out.
There is a so-called volunteer groups of territorial communities. In essence, these are civilians, they are not military at all. They even do not sign a military contract, but a volunteer contract. That is, it's like this programmer. I came, I was enrolled in a voluntary formation. I was introduced to my neighbors in the yard, just like me. We have the "right to use private hunting weapons for the task of territorial defense". If the situation in the city is completely bad, I have the legal right to use my hunting weapons, which I legally bought, but at the same time no one drives me to the training camp, we can agree to go ourselves, they will open the training camp for us. That is, I remain a civilian These are volunteer groups of territorial communities, they are tied to cities.
Finally, there is the army reserve. A reserve is a reserve. They have mandatory camps once a year. At the time of collection and in the event of mobilization, they are active military personnel, they are an army, they have a standard organizational system - platoons and companies. Here is the essence of the reserve commander, he is considered the commander of the territorial defense in the city, except for "Rukh of Defense", these partisans, they are only subordinate to special operations forces. The commander of the territorial defense manages only the reserve and volunteer group.
In essence, the model is normal, it opened up its capabilities to everyone, but on what did it start to skid hard?
Firstly, this is what I have already said, it is an idiotic idea to hang all this formalism on them. Plus, there was another problem - even medical examinations are paid for 40+ ages. I say, why paid? He says, because according to various decrees, the decree of the Cabinet of Ministers and so on, there is a risk that people 40+ may have cardiovascular diseases and so on. Guys, well, why won’t you first form, and then filter, so that at least if it suddenly explodes, as you write in the media, you would be ready for this?
To have material to work with.
Yes. And then you'll figure it out. And they say, we have officers, and it's true, I know, mostly officers in command are people of war. There are a lot of combat officers from the ATO recruited. He says that sometimes we feel sorry for talking to them, because they think the same way as you, but there are always bureaucratic services in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Here are these armchair officers who need a tick for everything. And while the first do not let the second to work. That is, as the latter do not rush to form it all faster, armchair officers bring thousands of restrictions. No, check it out and so on.
Some things there are objective. He says, look, we have a test, for example, for what? In order to screen out potential separatists who will intervene in the defense. Is that reasonable? Reasonable. I say yes, you can first register a person, while he has not yet been issued a weapon, complete a special check and then dismiss the separatist, filter. But if you do it wisely.
There, along the way, training is needed ... if not a separatist , then he can receive training.
In fact, he can get trained by going to a private shooting range in almost any place. Whoever wants it badly, here is a potential separatist, now let’s just google military training for civilians. In every city he will knock out a bunch of courses - field courses, shooting galleries and so on. There are paid and free public ones. Well, it's just that the question here is that, first of all, the state of Ukraine, it should not miss this potential of volunteers and the potential of defenders. It should not even miss the time.
Let's be frank. That is why the Russians are afraid, they remember Grozny 1994 with fear. When was the First Chechen War there?
But at the same time, we and everyone else are skeptical about Almaty. In fact, these are two examples that can be used to understand the difference between what resistance is and what is called self-defense of the city. There was no organization among themselves in Almaty. We even have people who came to Ukraine in 2014, foreign diplomats, they said: "We are coming to the Maidan. We are going to the Maidan." Maidan was subjective. People understood who it was, what the general idea was, with whom to talk and negotiate.
There was a headquarters, after all.
Yes. There was nothing in Almaty. Many people are offended why the attention of the Western media to them is so minimal. Excuse me, attention to what? Who is the subject? There were scattered groups. And in Grozny there was a subject. Dudayev was there, this defense was there. In Grozny there was a self-organization of people among themselves. This was not the case in Almaty. If there is an organization, if there is someone to coordinate people among themselves, then for any army a city can become, any city, an impenetrable fortress.
Now we have also experienced what I myself called the "effects of Vietnam." They wrote about Vietnam that initially there was a policy - more victims to scare, but the more victims there were, the more soldiers joined the Vietnamese resistance. This is how we had the same thing on the Maidan. Each attack by "Berkut" - Maidan increased in number. And we have been living with it for 8 years. The quantitative potential of volunteers, those who no longer want to run, has become many times larger.
I liked it, I remember the phrase that this programmer said. He does not make himself a Rambo or a militant. He says "I won't run away. I sent my family to the States and bought myself a rifle. I won't leave anymore. I'm tired of running." For 8 years he got used to the war. And here is the last figure that I heard from statistics, I don’t remember who carried it out, in my opinion, about 30% of the population are ready to defend their homeland.
This was done by the Ukrainian Institute for the Future.
Someone said it was small. I say small? Let's count!
For the defense, these are huge numbers.
I say, let's count a simple figure. Kyiv - 3 million people. Well, let's take a very rough figure, cut off by 1/3 - children, old people. We take only and cut off half - women, men. That is, men are 1/6 of the men of military age. With 3 million people, this is 500 thousand people. The entire army of Ukraine is 250 thousand people, and only in the city of Kyiv, in one city there are 500 thousand people motivated to defend it. This is 5 times more than the entire grouping of Russian troops around Ukraine. The only question is - do they have the resources and have they been given an organization? If they were given an organization than Kyiv, Kharkov, little Kupyansk could tear the Russians apart so much that they would later write in their history books "Never attack Ukraine." With their entire army, with all their show-offs that they have the best equipment in the world. I saw how everything flows from this equipment and the tank breaks right during the battle. But they have the best in the world. Here they can get their asses kicked so that they will remember for hundreds of centuries that one can’t intervene here.
In general, I want the Russians to attack, no matter how cynical it may sound, for one simple reason - I want to put an end to what is happening with us. Our dollar is already 28, our business is panicking, every six months we are waiting for a full-scale offensive. We will soon have neither the nerves of the people, nor the economy. I want them to attack, get kicked and we close this issue. They will not be able to do anything here with this motivation of the population, which we saw, starting from the Maidans, in the ATO, from volunteers. They are not able to take Ukraine. They can hit hard, but they are not able to take.
The question is simply that it must end. And I recently even uttered a phrase to my son that you know, I am proud that I live in this period. He says: "Why?" I say: "400 years, tens of millions of our fellow citizens who died at their hands. Holodomors, destruction. All the worst that we even had in general terms, starting from feudalism, which was not inherent in our people, ending with the modern oligarchy. Everything from them "Do you understand what has befallen our generation? The right to break this vicious 400-year cycle. Kill all this worst and finally start to develop. It is an incredible honor to live in this generation and take part in it, change your country, guarantee destinies future generations that there will be no more Holodomors, no more destruction of our population, and there will be normal development. We will now be able to develop like all normal countries."
So, yes, it sounds cynical. Yes, they can attribute this to me, that the thoughts of a military man, but to a certain extent, I even want this to happen. In order for us to put an end to this and start our new development from this point. Maidan gave us a very big breakthrough, but not everything has been completed yet. Still this Big brother is still watching us.
A very interesting point that emerges from what you say. This is a question of the technical organizational state of the Russian army, separatists, behind which, again, the Russians stand. Because we see how the Russians are constantly deploying this propaganda about “what modern weapons we have”, all sorts of “Daggers” and other crap, “Zircons”, which they constantly declare. Some people are impressed. But, you had the opportunity, as they say, to face their military organization in battle. Because the key, in fact, I agree with you, is the organization, not even the weapon, the key is the organization. Organization provides the key to understanding and to the possibilities of resistance. So, you came across their organization, how would you characterize it, and, in principle, do you see a change in their organizational potential from a military point of view? Because, well, for eight years, in addition to what is happening in the East, the Russians, we see, they participated in the conflict in Syria. I don't know how much you followed it then. Here it is clear that they actively began to use PMCs . They saw in this the form of organization that allows them to protect their foreign policy interests in modern conditions, when the army is not directly involved. But you can attract human potential, which is not a pity. Who can be given a status that allows you to circumvent some international norms, and apply it, as happened in the Donbas. We also remember that PMC "Wagner", somewhere in the Debaltseve region, where ours cleaned them well. So, please, let us know your estimation of their organizational potential.
Look, in addition to being a military man, I am also a PhD in Law.
By the way, explain to people so that they understand well what you do in life.
I am a PhD in Law and an attorney. I have 10 years of legal experience. I wrote my dissertation on the topic of legislative activity in the context of information technology. I study how information technology has changed modern society and how to manage it with the help of laws in such conditions. Society exchanges information faster, some rules of behavior change faster. I also teach at the university.
But there is such a rule, a generalization, an algorithm, when we take many situations, but we see that something in common happens between them. And in order not to manually regulate each situation, this is how the law is structured, we regulate in general, and then each person has to adapt to this general regulator. So, I took in general what you asked about the Russian army and I don’t see a difference starting from the Mongol-Tatars. In fact, their algorithms do not change. The algorithm of the times of the Second World War with the famous phrase of Zhukov "Do not spare the soldiers. Women give birth to others" does not change. They throw in quantity. In the ATO, we even had such terms as "meat battalions." It was those who were simply driven to machine guns, who were simply driven to be shot, because ... according to the principle, you don’t have enough cartridges, we will bring you more people. This is their tactic, it has not changed for a thousand years as it will be, and it still remains relevant. So is the airport in Donetsk. Most of the fighters who were at the Donetsk airport told me this. They also brought people.
Their equipment is old, the equipment is ruined. They are demotivated. We very often had cases when they surrendered and when they went into captivity quite easily. Well, sometimes, depending on the ideological superstructure, some were afraid that their propaganda would tear them to pieces there. I once had a meeting with an American diplomat, and there he respectfully says: "Fight against Russia!". I answer: "Do not confuse the Russian army with the army of the Soviet Union, well, do not confuse." The modern army of Russia is trashed equipment that does not drive, everything is pouring from it, everything is pouring from it. I say, instead of spending a million dollars on repairing their equipment, the Russians spend this million on news releases that they have the best equipment in the world. Here they drive it into their heads, but this has not been true for a very long time.
However, this tactic is really very uncomfortable and inconvenient for us - they have a lot of it quantitatively. That is, they can simply throw two or three thousand people there for 100% execution. We don’t do this, we feel sorry for our soldiers, we calculate, think over and they don’t even feel sorry for this equipment, they have it as a consumable. This is a complex tactic, and it still gives results for almost a thousand years.
Recently, someone said, "Why does Russia need Ukrainian territory? It has one sixth of the land." I say, I'm sorry, but how did they become one sixth of the land? They became such thanks, firstly, to this tactic - do not feel sorry for people, for throwing corpses. Secondly, thanks to the constant wars of conquest. They have lived throughout their history from the conquered territories. Conquest wars are their ideology, this is the only thing on which their entire structure of society is built, they live with it, grow. I say that all the revolutions in Russia were only from losing in wars. Never for economic reasons. They will, excuse me, live in shit, in a swamp, but believe that they are the greatest and live normally, but if they lose the war somewhere, they already believe that this king is not suitable for them. That's why they attacked.
And as for their organization, practically I would build it like this: firstly, this is a bluff. They invest a lot in bluffing, not only at the strategic level, that's where Putin bluffs, but also at the tactical level. That is, they can call a truce… I remember the first truce, the very first one, which, in my opinion, Poroshenko made right after the inauguration. He allowed the separatists to give up. Well, it annoyed us. We just watched through binoculars as they just brought up concrete mixers during this truce. Where yesterday there was a field and there would have been one form of battle, at the end of the truce there were concrete fortifications, artillery, and so on. That is, everything they promise, they use only to strengthen the war. Only for war and they often bluff, they often deceive in order to strengthen themselves in order to bring up additional troops. This is how it was with the "green corridor" in Ilovaisk, a vivid example.
Secondly, tactics continue similar to how it was in the UPA, when they dressed in the uniform of the UPA and allegedly on behalf of the UPA were looting, shooting columns of civilians under the guise of an attempt to extradite ... But if they betrayed persons in the UPA, now they are trying to give out artillery. It is very difficult to understand where the projectile is coming from. Everyone who has been in the war knows you only hear whistles and explosions. Direction - guess. That is, to bomb peaceful areas and issue a news release that the Ukrainians did it, and then ours only run around, justify themselves, explaining how it was in reality. The direction and the type of mines, that our mines did not fly there. They continue this strategy by turning the population against you.
In general, they are informational ... they give a lot of attention to the information war. We are losing this moment very much. We underestimate information. They are betting on it. Directly in a tactical sense, they do a lot... First, look, we had two cauldrons. They often try to play this game - the encirclement, take the cauldron. That is, pulling up, gradual, gradual pulling up of troops. I even saw ... here is the story of the 32nd checkpoint , there was a long battle. It also in essence, it was a very, very small cauldron. They just set up their own between ours, and our war began with their checkpoint, and the one that was behind, it was surrounded. That is, they removed...
The vector of attention.
The vector of attention and then they just began to gradually strengthen. They made a similar tactic in a strategic sense. Here's a small cauldron for you, and in a strategic one - how they all entered. Our army was ready only for a frontal attack, although it was not ready at all. That is, with planes, with tanks, as it was with the Second World War. They started from the middle of the country - from Slavyansk, from Donetsk. For leading groups directly to the cities…
And our army at first ran in a panic between the cities, and then those that turned out to be, they only strengthened, strengthened, strengthened these positions. That is, they are also pursuing this tactic.
So, they played Go with us (a Chinese game where spatial thinking – editor’s note). Do you know it?
Yes, it is. It was so. And most of all, by the way, sometimes armchair officers are a little, let's say, frankly angry with whom I communicate. The cabinet members are still waiting for a frontal attack. It's in their heads. You come to them and say, guys, we need to work on territorial defense. Issues of city defense, look, if in 2014 we had high-quality territorial defense, our army would not rush about where to go and how. Why? Because each city would defend itself. The city battles themselves would be conducted by internal territorial defense. I would knock out sabotage groups from Slavyansk and so on, and the army would take its positions, control the situation, but only pulling up reserve groups where they can’t cope or where it’s more difficult.
Combat officers, they also mainly consider this tactic, but some office officers do not, a frontal attack, we will strengthen the tanks here and so on. Of course, it needs to be strengthened. In general, I have a question why, with a bunch of tank factories, we still have no more tanks than Russia and Belarus combined in eight years. Well, okay, there in the first years of the war it was still possible to say that you need resources and that's it ...
I understood that we should have put all our strength and energy into this, but this Ukrainian bureaucracy spoils some officials very much. But at the same time, as always, Ukraine is pulled by the self-organization of the population, which began with the Cossacks. It doesn't leave us.
Clarifying question. How do you assess the military assistance that Ukraine has now received. Plus, over the years, despite all the bureaucracy, nevertheless, the Ukrainian army, it received there both Stugnas and all these ATGMs in an amount of hundreds, and missiles for them in the thousands. And now anti-tank missiles have gone, "Stingers" have been given to us. And in this logic, the question is - to what extent do you see that these are really serious efforts? That's why that one person absolutely correctly also wrote that it’s not enough to give a good rocket to a soldier or officer, you need to train him, motivate him and it’s bad when a person there with a salary of 14 thousand or 12 thousand hryvnia handles a rocket that costs 100 thousand dollars. Well, he just looks at it like iron and his motivation may just be low in order to use it correctly. He can drop there and...
Let's not forget, that's one of the reasons why we got this help a little bit at the wrong time than we would like. Because when leaving Debaltseve, remember, the Americans gave us anti-mine radars. And this famous story, when they simply abandoned them when they left, they were handed over in a packed form to almost Russians. They didn't even blow it up when they left. Demotivation, lack of attention to such weapons, of course, spoils the attention to us of our Western partners and allies. Yes, you need to teach a soldier. Not just necessary. It is necessary to give him a lot to shoot, because in the conditions of hostilities each weapon has its own nuances. Each weapon ... You need to know it in a bunch of details.
I was recently told that for some types of anti-tank weapons, for example, there was a similar problem in Asian countries, somewhere in Syria, and so on, this is when sandstorms rose and they, who fought in Syria, also understood this moment. Then the Americans and the British had to improve their weapons for this moment. Each weapon has its own nuances depending on the weather, under the conditions, moving equipment, not moving. And the fighter must pass all these nuances. To do this, he must make more than one shot and understand which button to press and how to aim. He must fire dozens of shots.
Secondly, you never fully know which of the fighters will have this weapon in their hands. The one you taught, he generally grabbed his family and ran away, but a programmer who had not even fought before came in his place. This point must always be taken into account. What did the experience of 2014 show us? The state believed that those who completed military service in the army were a mobilization reserve. In 2014, a real war began, and a bunch of people from military service in the army fled the country behind their backs, and a bunch of those who did not serve in the army, kicked out the doors of the military registration and enlistment offices saying – “take me”.
And this experience has already shown us that, first of all, we need to rely on the situation, that people will be different. We are united among ourselves, we are a huge corporation, half a million people are lined up in a single structure, we maintain constant communication, information from a fighter from Kyiv to a fighter in the village can reach in a matter of hours along this entire vertical, and we are also morally ready for these events. But we also always say that we are not sure that all these veterans will be. Well, we don’t know, someone had a child, his values have changed. But on the other hand, two of his neighbors will run out, who did not go to war in 2014, but communicating with him, caught fire with this, with this motivation.
Therefore, first of all, there should be trained people, any weapon should first of all proceed from the position of how much will be spent on training, on training people, and not just how much will actually be fired at the enemy. You need to make high-quality motivation. Salary is generally a disaster. A fighter who is being prepared for the front at the training ground receives, in my opinion, 12 thousand, and I have a neighbor who is in Kyiv at a factory for the production of metal-plastic windows, 14 thousand. There is a difference in working conditions.
At the same moment this fighter is responsible for assets that cost millions
First, millions in property. Second, a weapon that kills. And salary issues are very relevant for us. But there is still, after all, in the second moment the question of the distribution of this property. Again, I say, well, do we need these English missiles? Tomorrow there will be a real offensive, let's say there, and we expect that the struggle will go on in the fields, but we actually went to Kharkov. We take the script, they said Kharkov, there are fights in Kharkov, in the city. A bunch of motivated people ran out and started to fight. Yes, they have hunting weapons, which are rifles, people began to use them, to kill Russian soldiers. And how will they bring the equipment? And they will be told, well, guys, we have NLAW (British anti-tank missile systems – editor’s note), but it, for example, is in a warehouse in Izyum. And we will not deliver it to you, because your city is already at war, all in occupation.
The second issue is logistics, weapons proliferation. The same storages for different occasions. Okay, you are afraid, as in Switzerland, to let people a full-fledged weapon at home, although I am already tired of arguing about these fears there, but you are already afraid, God bless you. But make storages at least for the battle when it starts, if everything is bad, say, guys, there is a hospital over there, it has a basement, and in that basement you have a weapon with which you can stop an armored personnel carrier, you can stop an infantry fighting vehicle. I just hope they are created. I hope, because it would be wise to classify them anyway, but training, motivation and sufficient resources to train soldiers, it should be ready.
The biggest problem is a disaster with the bureaucracy so that the bureaucracy does not get in the way. This principle - stop the blood first, and then we will cure sepsis, that’s how it should be. First, train people and then gradually select people in the process, because we have one question - either we will tear them apart, or afterwards we will come up with reasons why it didn’t work out. With a huge potential to break them in a way that they, probably, have not been torn apart since the Second World War. The main thing is not to lose this potential. Today, even in the veterans' movement, we are even talking about such a moment that, guys, not only get ready for the fact that you may need to fight, but also prepare for the fact that you may also have to organize volunteers around you. Because if the state does not do this, and hostilities start somewhere, I repeat, anything can happen, you have to be ready for anything. Let's take this scenario as well. A man motivated to fight, a civilian, he will join either to the policeman or to a small group of veterans, seeing that they are ready. So, you must be ready to organize such people around you.
Now we are talking about these moments, giving advice. Here are the veterans, we talked, we asked to prepare advice for civilians. It happened with the first announcements from the Western media about possibility of an attack, we spread this message around the veterans' movement. Every veteran receives 3-5 calls a day from neighbors, friends and classmates, what could happen, what should I be prepared for, what advice can you give. But on the other hand, this is not a veteran who should be called. This is some state structure should have warned in the early stages. And not when the announcement from the American media came, but at least since 2014. Everyone should speak out, warn and reassure, and that's all. And to give roles, and now we have an announcement, on the one hand, they say in words, calm down, and it comes from the media - don’t calm down. And people are lost, until now a person does not know where to run in case of emergency. No one told how to behave in case of emergency, what could be the cases. A programmer who has bought a rifle for himself does not know whom he will join and where. Even if he is motivated and ready to die. Motivated to fight. Where should he go? Either the state will decide this, or it may turn out to be extremely negative consequences for us. Later, no one will tell us that he was guilty there, as our state likes to say, the people do not rule. No guys, everything is okay with the people.
Thank you. Kirill Sergeev was on air with us. I think it is a brilliant talk. It clarified how this situation looks for a man who has fought and who is facing the prospect of war calmly, rationally and being prepared. Thank you. I think this is not our last meeting.