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Lieutenant general Voronchenko: We had 6 hours to foil Russia's plans

February 04, 2016 11:55 19 59587 Rustem Khalilov, Semen Kabakaev
Фото: QirimInfo
Ukrainian officer, who served in Crimea and oversaw the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the peninsula, talks about the annexation and opportunities to stop it.

Lieutenant-General Ihor Voronchenko, who currently serves as the Chief of Staff of the General Staff of Ukraine, was one of the high-ranking officers, who saw the annexation of the Crimea from the inside. In 2014, when Russian troops invaded the peninsula, he was the Deputy Commander of the Coastal and Territorial Defense of Ukrainian Navy Forces. Russians tried to entice Voronchenko and, having failed, took him prisoner. In an interview with QirimInfo Voronchenko says that annexation was not a spontaneous project of Moscow, since Russia was preparing it for years.


Last August we caught a group of Russian diversionists. According to our intel, they were preparing a terrorist attack in Sievierodonetsk. When we were looking for people, who used to help the diversionists, we ended up in the village of Oknino, about 20 kilometers from Sievierodonetsk. One of the locals was supposed to meet the diversionists near the Siverskyi Donets river and guide them from there. That 50-year-old man was a former warrant officer of Russian Pacific Fleet. He retired in 2005 and moved to Oknino in 2006. While other locals were drinking, he was exercising and waiting. Now think about that — how many former warrant officers are there waiting in villages of Luhansk, Kharkiv and Kyiv Oblasts?

Why am I telling this? Annexation of Crimea was not an accidental operation. In my opinion, it began with Tuzla conflict.


You mean it began in 2003, when Russia started building a dam to the island of Tuzla?

They were trying their hand. I remember how the Russians were building a spit off their coast — 700-800 cars unloaded every day. Few people know, however, what was happening on their side of the strait. In Novorossiysk they were holding tactical exercises of the 7th Guards Airborne Division. We were prepared to repel the aggression, because they were holding command and staff exercises, and practical exercises to improve combat capability of the division. Russian border guards insolently dropped the anchors in our waters, but when our Sea Guard approached them, they explained that their ships broke down.

It is a shame that that same year Ukraine started to reduce the size of mechanized regiment stationed in Kerch, a kilometer away from the strait. The regiment had Grads, tanks, infantry units. After the Tuzla conflict Ukraine removed the regiment and left only one tank company there. All of this was destroyed artificially. It was a purposeful policy of Moscow. When Putin says that it all started from scratch, that is nonsense.

All of this was destroyed artificially. It was a purposeful policy of Moscow. When Putin says that it all started from scratch, that is nonsense.

The system of command was destroyed, all of its levels. There was the Joint Operational Command, which was created in a similar way to NATO and successfully operated. In 2010 it was destroyed, cut. Who is responsible for that? Former authorities. If that control system existed, thing would go differently.


Were there any others signs that Russia was preparing the annexation?

I had enough time to put everything together. According to my calculations, the immediate preparation for the annexation of Crimea began when Russia applied put forward its bid to host the Olympic Games in Sochi. Russia bid in 2008. In 2010 it created 4 new brigades equipped with the latest equipment. In October 2013, against the background of Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia transferred these 4 brigades to the command of the Southern Military District.

In October 2013, Russian air base in the town of Hvardiiske near Simferopol received 45 tanks of fuel instead of 12. Why? To refuel Il airplanes that landed later.

What about the people connected to the annexation?

Crimea was surrendered by [the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Crimea] Vladimir Konstantinov. Konstantinov’s business in Ukraine went bankrupt and a prison was waiting for him there. What did he do? He mortgaged building and then resold them.

Konstantinov can be traced everywhere. Sometime before the annexation I inquired who flew where. Konstantinov was in Moscow in December 2013, probably received instructions.

Konstantinov was in Moscow in December 2013, probably received instructions.

On February 22, the then Prime Minister of Crimea Anatolii Mohyliov had a meeting with law enforcers to discuss the situation in Crimea. Konstantinov immediately suggested going to Moscow and asking for help. Mohyliov shot him down then. Make your own conclusions!


February 20 is considered the official date of annexation. What date would you choose?

They started concentrating forces earlier. In February two Ils with Russian paratroopers landed in Hvardiiske. One Il carries up to 225 men. Two Ils is one battalion. The operation was planned efficiently and accurately. I repeat that, in my opinion, they have been preparing it since 2000s.


During the annexation you were taken prisoner. What happened?

I was summoned for talks. Then there were handcuffs and a bag on my head.

Previously I was offered a position of a general in Rostov. I also had visitors from [the Russian Head of Crimea] Sergey Aksyonov. They offered me the position of the Minister of Defense of Crimea. They wanted to persuade me to join them as soon as possible, had a file on me, knew everything about me.

When I asked, what would happen, if I refused, they said they would not be able to guarantee my safety and safety of my family. They told me I had three hours for my men to lay down arms. My wife was working at a military hospital. I called a friend and asked him to take away. She spent 10 days in a house in the mountains and then he sent her to Kyiv and I was able to calm down.

Do you know who the last to try to persuade me was?


Russian Minister of Defense Shoygu?

Shoygu’s first deputy, Nikolai Pankov. 15 minutes after I refused, FSB detained me.

The main reason for what happened in Crimea is that nobody cared about it. I am absolutely sure that when in 2013 "self-defense forces" were created in Crimea, our intelligence services reported about the situation on the peninsula to President [Viktor] Yanukovych. Once I learned that there were paratroopers in Hvardiiske, I filed an inquiry about the object, but it was ignored. Six months before that unaccounted vehicles were found at Opuk base [leased to Russian Black Sea Fleet], but Russian did not react.

Hvardiiske, Sevastopol and Opuk were the three points, where the military phase of the annexation started.


How many Russian soldiers do you think invaded Crimea? Boris Nemtsov wrote in his report that there were 35,000 of them.

I cannot tell the exact number. As I said, two Il planes with paratroopers landed in Crimea. We did not monitor how many ships came to Opuk. A battalion from Temryuk came, but God knows how many people were in it. 4 brigades of 2,500 men each were relocated, plus special forces units. Most likely, Nemtsov’s figure is correct.


How many Ukrainian soldiers were there on the peninsula?

People say that there were 20,000 soldiers there. That is a lie. After all the cuts and reductions of the previous years I had 2190 people left, including 180 women. 400 marines. A brigade in Perevalne, about 1,000 soldiers. About 250 in Kerch and the same in Simferopol. Near the center of Simferopol there was a brigade group. The main combat-ready units were a battalion of marines in Feodosia, a mountain brigade and a company in Kerch.

These were the Crimean forces. And the tank battalion had 6 accumulators. Out of 40 tanks only 6 could be started!


How many of Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea were locals?

About a half. In recent years we had a target to enlist a certain number of contract soldiers and we started enlisting locals. During the annexation, mothers of soldiers asked me to let their children go. There was pressure through the family.

Previously the share of locals was smaller; there were a lot of conscripts. About a year before the annexation we had no conscripts left. During the annexation, I had a problem because I did not know who could shoot me in the back. A soldier could report that everything was fine and he was loyal in the morning and then report that he raised a Russian flag over our base in the afternoon.

On February 23, [on Defender of the Fatherland Day,] officers, whom I respected, came to congratulate me. And ten days later they were standing in front of me with guns. Some former soldiers, retirees, blocked the checkpoint near our bases. I am sure that Russia had a database of all retirees.

Crimean Tatars helped a lot. I respect and appreciate them! Previously, during all the exercises in Crimea, we were fighting illegal armed groups created by national minorities. And who could that be in Crimea?

Previously, during all the exercises in Crimea, we were fighting illegal armed groups created by national minorities. And who could that be in Crimea?

When I was the last of Ukrainian soldiers to stay in Crimea, a Crimean Tatar friend of mine said: "We can form a human chain, I can gather 1500 people." I replied that I did not want to get ethnical issues mixed up.


Was there a moment when it was possible to stop the annexation?

Initially we had 6-8 hours to attack the captured building of the Supreme Council. 6-8 hours to make a decision and take action. If we acted, we could somehow stop Russia's plan.

Interestingly, in October 2013 we held exercises focused on freeing hostages in the Supreme Council. One order and we would have done everything.

There was no time after that. People started to rise. If some local got hurt somewhere as a result of resistance, that would give Russia a reason to send troops.


So after the opportunity at the Crimean parliament was lost, the consequences of resisting would be different?

The people changed and that was the worst. It influences you, when the people you used to be friends with a few days ago, oppose you today.

There was another moment, when it was possible to stall Russian forces, which entered Krasnoperekopsk. To surround them and show that those were Russian soldiers.

The idea was to send a battalion of marines to break through. But the next morning it was surrounded, with Grads and snipers deployed there. I realized that it was the end. Nobody knows that we were holding Kirovske airfield for three days and waiting for reinforcements.


Do you know what happened to your former colleagues, who defected?

All, except for one, were dismissed. One brigade commander hangs on somehow. You see, even Russian do not want traitors.

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19 комментариев
Gregory Ambolt
22.03.2016, 05:01
Анатолий Андреевич Филипович
09.02.2016, 17:26
Более 10 лет прослужил в России - номальные там люди, но почему в Интернет пролезает столько невоспитанного хамья со стороны РФ?!!
Николай Егоров
09.02.2016, 02:06
Хохлы Крым вы ПРОСРАЛИ. Теперича сидите и не ГАВКАЙТЕ. Привет из КРЫМА!
Афиноген Ильин
09.02.2016, 12:25
Возможно, что можно сказать "просрали" когда "брат" ударил в спину. Но аннексией Крыма и вторжением на Донбасс, Путин просрал Россию ... с Крымом вместе.
Андрей Лисецкий
07.02.2016, 12:07
когда на полуостров вторглись российские войска - мне вот интересно а ентот хенерал вообще был в курсе того что в Крыму была российская группировка численностью более 20 000 , с такими осведомлёнными генералами уже и не удивляешься разгромами всу и котлам в которые они так бодро умудрялись попасть
Vasya Pick
08.02.2016, 20:11
Сидеть на базах и вторгаться на остальную часть полуострова - две большие разницы. Когда речь идет о вторжении - подразумевают именно взятие под контроль объектов и блокировку украинских частей.
Борис Куземин
06.02.2016, 12:39
Крым так и не стал украинским, и виновата в этом не Россия, а бездарное и тупое руководство Украины. Двадцать с лишним лет Крым не был нужен Украине, не ремонтировались дороги и санатории, не выделялось достаточно денег просто для нормальной жизни, да о чём говорить - мусор с пляжей не вывозили. А тут взвыли - обидели их! Дырку от бублика вы увидите, а не Крым, господа укропы. Просто потому, что крымчане не хотят иметь с вами никаких дел. А Украину - реально жаль. Просто так, добром, нынешний маразм на Украине не кончится. Слишком много злобных и тупых тварей развелось на Украине. Все эти правосеки, бандеровцы, "Азов" - из какой клоаки они все повылезали? Ничего кроме оголтелой, тупой ненависти к России и русским, а что доброго можно построить на ненависти? И никакой позитивной программы. Только заклинания - "Запад на поможет"... А на хрен вы сдались Западу?
Alexey Mazepa
11.02.2016, 15:56
Крым последних несколько лет готовили к перекиси. Отремонтировали дороги, поменяли столбы и провода на латинской трассе, купили новые троллейбусы, построили солнечную электростанцию под симферополь......так что не трынди что денег не вкладывали
Anatoly Krasyuk
09.02.2016, 15:13
А вот в чём причина!!!Надо было давать денег-да побольше! Киевлянам латать,Борьке,дороги.Убирать за ним мусор,подтирать (простите) жопу...А ХУ-ХУ не ХО!Пусть тебе Хуйло это делает ,а посмотрю да порадуюсь твоей шаре.АНАТОЛИЙ К
Олекса Ок
08.02.2016, 09:58
ого, какой ты дурачек, неужели такова сила пропаганды?
Людмила Тригуб
07.02.2016, 11:07
Нет никаких бандеровцев и правосеков, и в Крыму все было нормально, в отличии, кстати, от нынешней ситуации. Крым вернется в течении 5-7 лет, а пока его ждет участь засранной абхазии, приднестровья. Расии не нужны оккупированные территории, нужен сам факт захвата. Крыичане уж нафиг никому не сдались, как бы вы себя не убеждали в обратном. За два года не наладить энергоснабжение, все украсть - какие крымчане? А Украине Запад уже помогает, и нехило, изменения будут происходить болезненно и долго, но другого пути нет. Главное, что мы оторвались от соседней клоаки, которая, сидя на ресурсах, начиная с 60-х, если не раньше, упорно их просирает, а если и были мммм.... изобильные годы, то только благодаря ценам на нефть и газ. Совок никогда не мог полностью прокормить себя хотя бы хлебом, всегда закупали у поганых пендосов, потом жрали гуманитарку оттуда же. И ситуация повторяется, надеюсь только, госдеп уже гуманитарку зажмет. Так что идите лесом, назад в 18 век, отключайте интернет, канонизируйте убийц, топите дровами, благоустраивайте проруби, толкайте вагоны с хлебом, огораживайтесь, а то на вас все нападают, и оставьте всех в покое.
Igor Saenko
07.02.2016, 11:07
Суть шизофрении в том, что человек не ощущает реальности происходящих событий. Все то, что он придумывает в своем воображении, и все то, что происходит в реальности, смешивается в сознании шизофреника. При этом часто шизофреники вообще отказываются воспринимать реальность в какой-либо степени — они живут в своем собственном придуманном мире.
Сержант Петренко
07.02.2016, 10:25
"мусор с пляжей не вывозили" - для цього треба постанову кабміну чи указ президента? Самі понавибирали бовдурів в місцеві ради, а тепер їм Україна винна. Дауни.
Oleo Sander Golets
07.02.2016, 09:44
А как вы хотели? Отхапать кусок чужой страны навезти кучу ублюдков на Донбасс, вооружить эту гопоту танками и гоадами, убивать наших людей, и все это под одобрительный стон 'русского мира' -- и мы после этого не должны этот русский мир ненавидеть? Будем ненавидеть и детей своих научим. А Крым - вернется, не через год так через три, но российским он не будет. А может, и страны такой не будет.
Ala Avakimova
07.02.2016, 07:02
Половина Российских территорий запрущена до безобразия, так что, их дожны были своровать те, кому они когда то принадлежали?
Andrzej Holubiev
06.02.2016, 21:15
Зато сейчас Крым цветет и пахнет и пляжи убраны и дороги сделаны? И дело не в Украине или Расеи,а в том, что крысчане хотевшие в расею,точно так же продались бы любому,кто пообещал бы им лучшую жизнь
Александр Денисов
05.02.2016, 11:15
Ну и что сенсанционного? Как обычно, винят в своём провале Россию, Путина. А что сделали сами, чтобы защитить территорию своей страны?. Предатели всегда внутри. Это как и с Советским Союзом. Популярны внешние факторы его разрушения. Но если внутри себя страна едина, её не свалить. Пример - Великая Отечественная Война. Так что, господин генерал, не стройте из себя страдальца за целостность Украины. Вы ничего для этого не сделали.
Людмила Тригуб
07.02.2016, 11:20
Не в провале, дебил, а в захвате чужой территории. Нельзя брать чужое. Путин его украл не потому, что там типа пляжи грязные. Как в абхазии, пляжи чистые? Зато там военная база есть. То же и с Грузией, и с Молдавией, правда, не при путине была эта история. Кстати, я была ошарашена, что генерал лебедь, земля ему камнями, оказывается, и в Молдавии тоже разглядел поднимающуюся голову фашизма, убил 1000 людей, оттяпал кусок территории. До боли что-то мне напоминает. На счет единства страны - о да, ваша страна действительно едина, скрепы ненависти ко всему вокруг и правда держат мертвой хваткой. Но у на что совок казался вечен, а и тот дух испустил. Потому что надо не уповать на нефть, а работать, и не воровать в таких немыслимых масштабах. А еще тратить деньги не на войны, а на свой народ. Страшно подумать, скольких денег стоило организовать эти сокращения армии (как сержант запаса говорю), расставить заблаговременно всех предателей в МО и правительстве, что бы в нужный момент все рвануло как следует. Но не на тех напали, Украина, будучи даже ослабленной, дала вам по щам. И это начало конца, орки :)))
Вячеслав Данков
06.02.2016, 08:19
Ну да, Великая отечественная. С её заградотрядами НКВД, расстрелами за плен, за отступление. Соотношение потерь практически 10/1. И американский ленд-лиз где даже пуговицы на советской форме были сделаны в США. А СССР как государство вообще не имело право на жизнь.