Ukraine Special Operations Forces and their problems

New vlog was published on my YouTube channel. It includes:

- own experience of working with Ukraine Special Operations Forces units;
- conflicts in the Ukraine Special Operations Forces command;
- problems among officers.

Information about officers:

Text version:

Hello, I`m Vasily Prozorov and today I`1d like to talk about Special Operation Forces of Ukraine. By the way, this service branch celebrated its professional holiday on 29th of July.

The history of Ukrainian army elite forces is very specific. At the beginning of the anti-terrorist operation in Donbass Special Forces were a part of the Main Department of Intelligence of Ukraine and at first it was often used as a well trained infantry or reconnaissance units.

Uncertainty of legal status of the armed forces in ATO, outlying tasks, low level of support – all this led to lots of casualties among soldiers of elite forces in 2014-2015.

For example, 29th of July is considered to be the dark day for the 3rd regiment of the Special Operations Forces. In 2014 a group of this unit was searching for the crashed plane of Ukrainian Air Forces got ambushed and was terminated by the Donbass militia. 12 soldiers were killed, 5 were taken captive.

There is one fact that can say a lot about casualty rates among elite forces units in the initial period of ATO. From August 2014 till January 2015 the 73rd Naval Special Warfare Center, that is positioned in Ochakov, lost two commanders – captain Zinchenko and captain Olifirenko. Not to mention many other casualties among officers and soldiers.

In 2016 Kiev made the decision to remove Special Forces units from military intelligence and to give them the status of independent service branch. Why? The main task of SOF is to carry sabotage and psychological operations on the territory of the enemy. And Russia is thought to be an aggressor in Ukraine. This is why all efforts of Special Operation Forces will be fostered not in European direction, but to carry sabotage and psychological operations on the territory of Russia. That is why the new service branch was given not only the combat units of elite forces, 3rd and 8th special regiments, 73rd naval special warfare center and 140th special center, but also units of information and psychological operations. It should be mentioned that creation of the separate service branch with direct funding and immediate subordination to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Ukrainian Armed Forces had a positive impact on Special Forces. A dedicated 42nd Training Center was built in Berdichev. The weaponry and gear were upgraded . SOF began to take part in counter-terrorism training of State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) as diversionary-terroristic groups, not taking into account their participance in ATO. During training mission Special Forces units were tasked with capturing atomic power plants, railway junctions and even military arsenals. They gave hard time to the SBU and National Police. An example from my own experience. During training in Israel embassy in 2016 in Kiev soldiers of 140th Special Center (Hello to colonel Matviishin) began to speak Arabic. And all the preparations of SBU became useless, as there were no negotiators with a knowledge of this language. Fighters of 140th Center had Afghanistan and Iraq experience, so they could speak Arabic. By the way, in 2019 this center got the NATO certification as a Special Operation Forces unit. And now they can be officially involved into NATO Rapid Deployment Force.

But not everything is so good in SOF. Especially at the top of the command. A long-running conflict between Deputy Commander in Chief of Special Operation forces Sergey Krivonos and a Chief of General Staff Muzhenko forced Krivonos to leave SOF. This man had authority in Special Forces units. He is a true professional. By the way, he celebrated his birthday recently, so Sergey Grigorievich, happy birthday. Three years ago we were celebrating my birthday together.

But let’s go back to the conflict at the top of Special Operations Forces. Commandant of this service branch lieutenant general Lynev Igor Vasilievich did not support his deputy. As a matter of fact Lynev previously served in airborn forces. In spite of that fact that these branches are very similar he does not really understand the tasks of the SOF. Special Operations Forces Command lost control over the situation among the troops. As a result, lots of officers have retired. I was surprised when I found out that 80 per cent of officers of intelligence section of SOF Command retired in the beginning of 2018. 80 per cent! And those who left are not the best representatives Force.

The story of colonel Ruslan Sheptenko deserves a special notice. I found it out in face-to-face setting with his colleagues. In 2017 Sheptenko was a senior officer of intelligence section of Special Operation Forces Command. And he has a gambling addict. To get money for satisfaction of his addiction he bonded service notebook. Twice. And he was not punished for that. The Command did not want to air dirty laundry.

The situation in combat elements of elite forces is not better. Lots of fighters who passed through the long and tiring selection to SOF units retire after a three-year contract. And they immediately find a god job in special units of SBU, National Guard and National Police.

We have already told you about the Special Operation Forces in our investigations on the web-site Ukr-leaks, including those dedicated to information and psychological operations against republics of Donbas and Russia.

In the end I would like to say special thanks to YouTube-channel “Revisor” and its creator Yury for attracting attention of his audience to my investigations.