He says he is equipped no thanks to the government, which did not fulfill its promise to issue military uniforms to all National Guardsmen by Oct. 10. They displayed their shabby uniforms and worn-out boots, thanking volunteers and relatives at home profusely for stepping in where the government failed.

Barabulka said the state only supplied him with tarpaulin boots and low-quality blue camouflage so far. The boots are too light for the winter or cold November nights. So, he wears his own felt boots during night shifts.

The army camouflage supplied by the government is also no good. It’s fully synthetic and is too dangerous to wear. In case he is fired at, “it will burn like a match,” Barabulka explains.

The 26-year-old soldier of the National Guard is a native of Lviv Oblast. He has been serving in the east since Oct.1.


When soldiers like him hear the government reports saying that Ukrainian troops are ready for the winter, they just laugh. Having a potluck-style outfit is a standard affair in the army.

The cost of a soldier’s gear without Kalashnikov is about Hr 10,000.

Vyacheslav Tseluiko, expert at the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies, believes that the quality of soldiers’ equipment affects their performance. “When a soldier feels cold, when he has uncomfortable footwear that would obviously distract him from his tasks,” he said.

Tseluiko said army procurement still works to old-style, with rigid rules rather than common sense, which leads to massive wastes of money.

“For the money the army spends to purchase low-quality new Ukrainian military boots it’s possible to purchase second-hand NATO boots that would be more comfortable and will wear longer,” he says.

The government plans to spend 3 percent of gross domestic product on the army next year – which is only $5.4 billion out of $180 billion – and simplify procedures for procurement, the National Security and Defense Council decided on Nov. 4.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter