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To the President and the Minister of Defense: Where there are no drones, people become consumables

, 19:46, 25.02.2023
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes 213

War in Ukraine. Translation of the autobiographical material of the Ukrainian soldier Maria Berlinska.

To the President and the Minister of Defense: Maria Berlinska, ad
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War in Ukraine. Translation of the autobiographical material of the Ukrainian soldier Maria Berlinska. The text is unchanged. Source Ukrainian Pravda.

To the President and the Minister of Defense: Where there are no drones, people become consumables

"I must say right away: this column is written only because all other methods have been exhausted.

This material is not intended to be a harsh criticism or accusation. Right now, unfortunately, this is the only way to draw attention to a large-scale problem.

This is a problem on the solution of which depends whether we lose or win this war.

Literally. That is why I am personally addressing the President and the Minister of Defense.

We are familiar with the minister, but not with the president, so it will be appropriate to briefly introduce ourselves.

Volodymyr Oleksandrovich, my name is Maria Berlinska. Since 2014, I have been a volunteer in the war and head of the Air Intelligence Support Center. Since then, I have been doing everything possible to make the field of unmanned military technology a matter of state strategy.

During these 9 years, I held hundreds of meetings with our deputies, ministers and officials in order to explain one simple idea: soon Russia will return with a new blow. Whoever has more effective strike drones will win this war.

Unfortunately, in most cases, all suggestions were successfully ignored.

Instead, our war experience was carefully studied abroad, NATO countries repeatedly invited me and several other leading experts to a meeting with their military and political leadership to learn what modern technological war with Russia is like.

For the past few years, my life and career have been abroad, mostly in the USA. When the full-scale war began, I returned to Ukraine.

During this year, I invest all my knowledge, professional experience and resources in order to prepare the army (more than 9,000 soldiers have been trained at the training grounds of the General Military Academy, 36,000 are registered for the closed theoretical course "Technology Application"), to provide technological solutions (transferred through foundations, businesses, patrons in total more than 28,000 radios, drones, tablets, Starlinks) and deregulate the industry, simplify the rules of the game for Ukrainian manufacturers.

I resigned from official work to devote all my time to the war. As you know, there are no days off in war. All this is completely on a volunteer basis.

It is an honor for me to be with my people in this terrible time.

Now to the heart of the matter

Ukrainian manufacturers of unmanned technologies do not cover even 10% of the front's needs.

Drones are an opportunity to scout, adjust, strike ahead of time.

Drones have become a key element of the battlefield: if there are no drones, art is "blind". And no matter how many shells, howitzers, tanks, fuel, means of communication - drones determine the dynamics of war.

For the same reasons, aerial reconnaissance is now a priority target for the enemy. After all, by finding a command post, a warehouse with ammunition and adjusting the fire according to the technique, it is possible to effectively and painlessly stop the enemy even at the approaches, dozens of kilometers from our positions. It is possible to prevent the occupiers' barrage of fire from reaching our people.

Like everything else in war, drones are expendable. In practice, this means that where there are no drones, people become consumables. There are no tens of thousands of drones, which means that tens of thousands of people lose their lives and health.

I will write about the problems of the industry and explain why urgent solutions are needed.

I'll start with the good news

On December 25, 2022, I published an article on "Ukrainian Pravda" entitled "How we kill our own people", an interview with Yanina Sokolova was also recorded. After that, I was contacted by government officials, deputies, and lawyers, and we managed to make several correct and necessary changes.

1) Cancellation of the need to take guarantee letters from the military unit for volunteers (in/h)
Document: Cabinet resolution.

The result: tens of thousands of man-hours of volunteers and military commanders were saved.
Assisted by: Svyridenko, Tistyk, Dorohan, Samohodskyi, Hryshchuk.

2) Revoking the recognition of the Mavic-3 drone as a dual-use product by the State Export Control Service (SSEK)
Result: Ukraine ceased to officially recognize the civilian drone of the TPP, the entire first front line is maintained on these "Maviks".

But it was too late, we shot ourselves in the foot. A bad precedent was set for other countries, due to which problems with the import of drones from the EU began as early as September.

Helped: public publicity, the entire volunteer movement and conscious people in power.

3) Cancellation of customs duty and VAT on drones, walkie-talkies, thermal imagers and night vision devices (PNB)
Documents: amendments to the Tax and Customs Codes.

Result: The most common goods for the protection of citizens' lives will not be taxed. This will make it possible to reduce prices and simplify delivery. It is also possible to receive these goods in express shipments.

Helped: Hetmantsev, Zheleznyak, Samokhodskyi, Ustinova, Natalukha, Yuzhanina, Vasylchenko, Bobrovska, Bezugla. Finally - the signature of the president.

4) Elimination of control over the import of certain goods by DSEK.
Documents: resolution and amendments to Cabinet resolutions.

Result: DSEK will no longer be able to slow down the delivery of components for Ukrainian drones, anti-drone guns, PEP, EW, etc. for months

Assisted by: Fedorov, Svyridenko, BRDO.

Now the bad news

For a whole year, the State Service for Export Control blocked the import of components into Ukraine, requiring months to obtain permits for each component.
The result: often the components were either not delivered, or they were delivered "in their pockets", for bribes, etc.

A number of manufacturers gave up and stopped production. As it was said above, the industry still does not meet the needs of the front even by 10%, we cover it with people.

People at the front perform a single task for all of us. They buy time for us, time for us to prepare. Heroism is always the result of someone's mistakes.

We are a country that does not produce its own chips, high-precision electronics, or optics. All avionics, all the stuffing of our UAVs are imports.

Instead of using a mad vacuum cleaner to suck in everything possible from all over the world, we lost a year of time, because the head of DSEK Oleksandr Pavlichenko de facto did not allow imports into Ukraine for months.

Why the State EXPORT Control Service actually controls IMPORT is a separate issue.

The main task of DSEK should be to control everything that leaves Ukraine in order to avoid re-export to third countries. Instead, DSEK has been dropping critical components for robotic and unmanned vehicles "a teaspoon at a time" throughout the year.

In fact, DSEK won time for Russia.

Everything can be rebuilt and restored, but we have the only non-renewable resource - people. And people run out.

They end because the Western partners are slow to give up weapons, fearing an uncontrolled escalation.

They end because we fight blindly, especially at night.

While DSEK blocked the delivery of thermal imagers to drones for months, the Russians launched the industry in three shifts. Components are transported across the border with China without hindrance in trucks, the best engineers of the country are driven to work on the development of percussion instruments. In addition to the fact that they already had many good samples of UAVs, dozens of new engineering centers are opening.

Engineers are motivated simply - here are the components, here is the time deadline. Either you make hundreds of effective systems, or you go "to protect your family" near Bakhmut. At the same time, thousands of Maviks and other Chinese systems are imported across the direct border.

The president, the minister and everyone who reads this column may logically have a question: but it was said above that the problem of import control by the DSEK has been solved?

I thought so too. But as soon as we managed to give the green light to technologies by the Cabinet of Ministers' resolution, draft law 8415 appeared. This draft law cements the unlimited powers of DSEK (or the successor of DSEK 2.0).

In fact, everything is getting worse than it was.

It was explained to us that draft law 8415 is being pushed together by the chairman of the Defense Committee, Oleksandr Zavitnevich, and the head of the DSEK, Pavlichenko. We met with them a few days ago, I explained all the risks of the draft law.

It looked like there was a constructive dialogue. But as early as Wednesday, February 22, I learned that on Friday, February 24, the anniversary of the invasion, draft law 8415 is planned to be quickly voted on in the Verkhovna Rada.

In the dry residue

1. The leadership of DSEK has been deceiving all of us for a long time. For example, control over imports is a categorical requirement of Western partners.
And we believed until we reread the legislation of the European Union ourselves.

It turned out that the extension of export controls to imports is a purely "Ukrainian peculiarity".

2. DSEK set a very bad precedent for other countries. In fact, in the country that currently has the largest use of drones in human history, it has been officially recognized that the Mavik civilian drone is actually a dual purpose product. For several EU countries, this became a signal, and since September, it has become very difficult to import drones, which support the entire front.

That is, we do not allow ours to develop, and we make it as difficult as possible to import even "wedding" ones.

In fact, one such "wedding" easily saves the life and health of an entire company of our soldiers.

Now you have to go and ask your partners to simplify the procedure. This is where we have outlined the ways to solve the global problem for volunteers and the military with the import of drones from the EU.

3. DSEK, together with several deputies, is trying to make its powers unlimited and enshrine it in the law. Bill 8415.

They boldly do this after all the public publicity about their "work". This means that they feel absolute impunity. Maybe someone is covering them.

There is no consensus among producers and volunteers. Some say that they are just corrupt, others that this is real sabotage and betrayal.

I deal with intelligence issues, but looking for traitors is not my specialty, there are other structures for that.

However, what I know for sure is that in Putin's place, if not a medal, then a certificate should definitely be presented. So much time and opportunities won for Russia.

We are dependent on everything - we are forced to ask for "Highmars", guns, planes, tanks, air defense and constantly count on the goodwill of world politicians.

Drones are where we can be truly independent and not ask for help. Our engineers are already making very effective samples from the simplest components. But in units, and it is necessary - in thousands.

A simple example: our partners provided us with "Khaimars" missiles with a maximum range of 80 km. Plus, we don't shoot from scratch. So, the Russians should drag out the warehouses, the accumulation of equipment by 65-70 km - and we are already out of reach.

Missiles from "Hymars" cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Production is not unlimited.

Now imagine that there are thousands of strike planes in the sky, carrying kilograms of explosives, with a range of 150+. And they cost only 15-35 thousand dollars. Swarms of small attack drones that fly into the trenches and explode, barrage ammunition for 10-15 km. Land and water drones. Electronic warfare and intelligence systems.

It's all real. And the one who does it faster will win this war.

I don't know why no one has yet taken responsibility for the fact that so much time has been lost to launch the most important industry. And for the fact that already in the second (actually tenth) year of the war, we are still forced to rely on Chinese "wedding drones".

We just need to open imports, deregulate the industry, do not interfere - we will do the rest.

It is our duty to protect our people at the front, to win the war as quickly and at the lowest cost. This is still real.

Mr. President, Mr. Minister of Defense, I count on your decisions".

Maria Berlinska, head of the Air Intelligence Support Center