War has come to our country. For the first time since 1945, a military conflict of this scale and intensity is unfolding in Europe. Civilians are dying, infrastructure is being destroyed, millions of Ukrainians have left their homes and become refugees. But this war concerns not only Ukrainians.
In the era of nuclear weapons and the global interconnection of all socio-economic processes, the consequences of the invasion of Ukraine will be felt by the whole world. “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind” said John F. Kennedy . Therefore, we will do everything to ensure that every voice in support of Ukraine against this terrible war is heard.
Our almanac opens the standing head ANTI-WAR ALARM, where we will publish authoritative opinions about what is happening. We are sure that the courage and heroism of the Ukrainians, the moral position and objective assessment of events will help us overcome even the most difficult trials that have befallen our country.
A modern armed conflict is always an accompanying information war. Russian propaganda talks about the weakness of Ukraine, about the low level of its combat capability. However, the realities of the first days of the war prove otherwise.
Why do Ukrainians successfully resist one of the strongest armies in the world, which, according to some criteria, is second only to the US armed forces? What kind of assistance to Ukraine should be expected from Western partners?
These and other questions in an interview with the editor-in-chief of Huxley Zhanna Kryuchkova are answered by Leonid Shiman, General Director of the State Enterprise “Scientific Production Association “Pavlograd Chemical Plant”.
Leonid Shiman is the chief designer of solid propellant rocket engines. Doctor of Technical Sciences. Corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
He gives a course on innovation and Hi-tech in China.He is Hero of Ukraine. The ideological inspirer of the three-part documentary film On Love, Weapons and Eternity, dedicated to the 85-year history of the State Enterprise “Scientific Production Association “Pavlograd Chemical Plant”, which Shiman has been leading for many years.
According to Leonid Nikolayevich, if the potential of PCP in previous years had been fully demanded by independent Ukraine, then perhaps this war would not have happened now.
Our country still has the capacity to produce strategic weapons with a firing range of up to 10,000–15,000 km on the basis of the enterprise. “At all times, strength has given independence and freedom,” says Leonid Shiman.
WILL FOREIGN COUNTRIES HELP US?
Leonid Nikolayevich, what do you think about the military support of the West? Should Ukraine count on it?
Analyzing all the nuances of our partners’ reactions to what is happening, I come to the conclusion that, first of all, Ukrainians need to rely on themselves. Ukraine is at war with Russia one on one. And there are no changes expected in the near future. On what basis do I draw such conclusions?
See, for example, how the West reacts to Ukraine’s request to close the sky to protect our cities from bombing. What does it mean to close the sky in the military sense?
If the NATO countries make such a decision, then all aircraft that are seen over the territory of Ukraine will be shot down by NATO missiles. This automatically means the entry of NATO countries into the war with the Russian Federation. Naturally, they are not going to do this, because such a clash could escalate into the Third World War, which will be nuclear. There will be no winners.
Therefore, Ukraine’s request to NATO to close the sky remains unanswered. Although, if its anti-aircraft systems began to shoot down Russian aircraft, in particular along the Belarusian and Moldovan borders, it would be much easier for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Now enemy aircraft are entering Ukrainian territory, mainly to a depth of 150 km. They do not risk flying further, because literally in 10 minutes the air defense system recognizes them and opens fire on them. Therefore, their task is to quickly enter the territory of the country, quickly bombard and leave.
Such actions can be done only along the borders. The Russians can only launch missile strikes on objects that are located deep in the territory of Ukraine. But, fortunately, they have very few such missiles.
To effectively counter the enemy in the air, Ukraine also needs more aircraft. And here we seem to have agreed to help three NATO countries – Bulgaria, Poland and Slovakia. They promised to give us 70 fighters and attack aircraft, but after a day or two they refused to give them.
Because within the EU, a political controversy has begun on this issue: “If we give Ukraine planes, this will mean that we are entering the war with Russia on the Ukrainian side. Besides, with what can we close the sky?”
Strong pressure began to be exerted on those who made the decision to transfer the aircraft to Ukraine. Why?
The fact is that in a number of European countries there is a rather powerful Russian lobby that is working against us. Its representatives have been on the payroll of Russian transnational companies such as Gazprom, Rosneft, etc. for many years.
Another thing is that the invasion of Ukraine turned the whole world against Russia, now they are hated by almost all nations!
MOTIVATION WINS, NOT TECHNIQUE!
Do you agree that Russia has a technological and numerical advantage on its side?
Such an advantage is largely a myth. Because it is not technology that is fighting, it is people who are fighting! And Ukrainians and Russians are radically different in motivation and fortitude!
Our people have exceptionally powerful motivation, behind them are families, houses, cities, which today Russia is trying to destroy, raze to the ground. The Russians, on the contrary, have zero motivation. Well, except for the material. But first of all, it’s not that big. What are they fighting for? None of them wants to die in a foreign land for wages or orders!
Russia throws into Ukraine mostly not experienced soldiers, but “cannon fodder” – these are 18-20-year-old boys. What can they do? Even with the most modern types of weapons, they will be ineffective.
We see that as soon as the first shell falls next to them, they immediately scatter in all directions. When everyone alone begins to save his life, the military unit ceases to exist.
Now look at the Ukrainian fighters and their motivation. Let’s take just one recent case in Genichesk as an example. When a 25-year-old guy, realizing that he will not have time to blow up the bridge and leave, blows himself up along with the bridge. He left behind a family and two children. This guy died for them and for all of us! Do you feel the difference?
The Russians came to fight in foreign lands for the interests of others, and we are at home! The leadership of the Russian Federation sent soldiers here, hoping that they would march victoriously across Ukrainian land in 3 days, where they would be greeted with fireballs and raise Russian flags over Ukrainian cities.
In addition, the Kremlin believed that Ukrainian officials, would start eating their own ties because of the fear, following the example of Saakashvili, and surrender. But they were wrong – no one expected them here and no one was afraid! Naturally, they did not expect such resistance.
At the same time, one must understand that the status of Russia’s nuclear power in this war will not help in any way. If the Russian Federation uses nuclear weapons, then it will use it, including against itself. There are no winners in a nuclear war. It’s just that some die instantly, while others are painful and long.
GENERAL MOBILIZATION WILL NOT SAVE RUSSIA
The US said Russia had already deployed 90% of its troops, which were concentrated near the border. If this is so, then Russia can only declare a general mobilization …
This will not help the Russians. The difference between their mobilization and ours is colossal. Our men have already gone through the school of Donbass, they have sniffed gunpowder and know how to behave in a war. The Ukrainians are more prepared, we just need a little more time and weapons.
The Russians for the most part do not have such combat experience. The last ones who had it fought back in Afghanistan. What they faced in 2022 in Ukraine is not like what happened in Georgia in 2008. Then the Russian troops reached Tbilisi in two days, and the Americans immediately began to negotiate with them, asking for the Georgians and Saakashvili …
What is happening now in Ukraine could somehow be compared with the war in Chechnya. But the fact is that the Chechen fighters were armed with rifles and machine guns, while Russia had aircraft, tanks, cannons, hailstones – they simply swept Chechen villages and cities from the face of the earth.
Do you remember what happened to Gudermes and Grozny? These cities simply did not exist, only ruins remained. At the same time, in Chechnya, the Russians lost almost 6.5 thousand of their own within 1.5 years! And this is on a territory equal in area to only two districts of the Dnipropetrovsk region!
From north to south, the Chechen territory stretches for about 170 km, from west to east – for about 100 km. Just over a million people live there. And now compare with Ukraine: a huge territory – almost 600 thousand square kilometers, about 40 million people, dozens of large cities! The absurdity and hopelessness of the occupation of the Ukrainian land was obvious to all sane people, to all adequate experts. Now it is gradually dawning on the Russian leadership that they were telling the truth and that the invasion of Ukraine is a fatal strategic miscalculation.
THE MAIN MEANING OF THE UKRAINIAN VICTORY
All wars end sooner or later. What, in your opinion, can be the post-war reality?
It is already clear that the main result of the war was the incredible cohesion, hitherto unprecedented unity of the nation. This, when the war is over, will be the main meaning of Ukraine’s victory!
Now all Ukrainians have united against a common enemy – regardless of political views, language, territory of residence and ethnicity. All – in a single formation, each in his place, clasping his teeth, they work hard in the name of victory. And for this we must say a big thank you to Putin: by declaring war on Ukraine, he united its people.
Before the war, there were a fairly large number of people in our country who were more or less loyal to Russia and Putin. Do we remember why 73% voted for Zelensky in the presidential election? Including because he supported bilingualism. But today the war has put everything in its place.
Even those few outcasts who, foaming at the mouth, argued that Russia is our friend and brother, prefer to remain silent – too eloquently blown up houses and corpses of innocent citizens speak of the opposite. By invading Ukraine, Putin signed the final verdict on his “Russian world”. He himself tore the last threads that connected the two peoples – Ukraine will never forgive Russia for this war.
There is a proverb: “A bad peace is better than a good quarrel!” In this vein, those to whom the war did not bring grief and fear can still reason. But today, for the majority of Ukrainians, this logic is no longer relevant.
When your house was destroyed, when peaceful neighborhoods are shelled, your children are killed, you no longer think about the peace – neither about the bad, nor about the good. You only think about one thing – winning! War generates a powerful energy of hatred for the enemy, which one way or another finds a goal and a way out.
How do you see possible scenarios for further developments?
Time works for us. We just need to hold out for another 2-3 weeks. Every day the mobilization of Ukrainians is higher, every day we receive more and more weapons from our partners. Everything goes to the fact that the Ukrainians will calmly and methodically destroy all enemy columns on their territory.
Until the Russians themselves realize that the criminals in the Kremlin are simply sending their children here to be slaughtered. I think that anti-war protests are possible in Russia, they just have to mature. Under the pressure of ever-increasing losses, the Russians will refuse to fight.
Look what happened in just one week! Almost 10,000 people have already died on the Russian side. Even up to 20,000 – these are those who scattered around the neighborhood, the wounded, captured.
These losses are already about 20-25% of what was concentrated on our border before the invasion. If this trend continues, then one more such week, and Russian losses will already amount to 50%. And in 4 weeks you can lose all 100%!
I think the ruling elite in Russia understands this well. Therefore, I see for them the only optimal way out. The Russian power structures are raising, like a banner, some leader alternative to Putin and, on his behalf, are negotiating with the collective West.
After that, Putin is simply isolated, removed from power. Then Russia renounces all territorial claims, investments begin to flow into it again, and the country returns to the economic system from which it was thrown out and on which it is completely dependent.
In this situation, Ukraine can lose only in one case: if we have people at the top who will betray Ukrainian people. If it does not happen, then, taking into account how mobilized the Ukrainian society is, we will definitely stand and win.