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Defence Ministry cancels 631 orders – Ukraine

May 16, 2016

The reshuffle of the Cabinet of Ministers saw a significant amount of change, most of those changes known in advance.  Of those ministers who did not change, and to be blunt were not expected to change, the Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak was among those remaining in post.

Stepan Poltorak

Stepan Poltorak

16th May saw the announcement by Stepan Poltorak of the cancellation of 631 orders within the Ukrainian Military Industrial Complex.  The reason cited for the 631 order cancellations was that the end product failed to meet NATO standards.

A very wise decision if NATO interoperability and military equipment standards are to compliment the on-going training and interoperability of the Ukrainian armed forces with NATO.  Almost 18 months ago the blog highlighted just this issue“Ultimately any western advanced defensive arms assistance should be little more than filling the immediate short term gap, in as large a quantity as is feasible and/or necessary in the areas where Ukraine clearly has the experience and capabilities to produce advanced defensive arms for itself.  Dependency upon advanced arms from friendly nations, sensibly, should be limited to what Ukraine cannot produce itself.

On the long list of Ukrainian reforms – it may be wise for NATO and/or certain NATO members advising Ukraine on numerous military and civilian matters, to put the reform of the Ukrainian defence industry/military industrial complex on the agenda – somewhere very near the top.  When all is said and done, the threats it faces today, will be the same threats it faces a decade from now – if it can retain its independence.”

There will naturally be umbridge within the Ukrainian MIC at the cancellation of 631 orders – at least initially.

The questions that should perhaps be raised considering Minister Poltorak is not new to his role unlike so many other current ministers, are when were the orders placed for non-NATO standard equipment, and why after so long in post are those orders only being cancelled now?

Who was Defence Minister when such non-standard equipment was ordered in the first place?  How much money, if any, has been wasted regarding these now cancelled orders?  (Even if they have yet to begin production there is a cost to the bureaucracy in placing the orders – and tendering costs if there were any tenders from within the Ukrainian MIC etc.)

It is right to applaud Minister Poltorak for cancelling these orders if they fail to advance the Ukrainian military toward the standards Ukraine wants it to reach, but there are also valid procurement and budgetary questions to asked regarding the cancelled orders themselves.

How much time and money was wasted – and why?

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