Kyiv, December 29, 2015. Fourteen and a half thousand border guards have been deployed to ATO zone for combat tasks, 13,340 thousand of them have received the status of combat veterans. “Unfortunately 67 border guards have been killed in action, 406 were wounded in action and six are missing in action. […] No our servicemen are held captive,” said Colonel-General Viktor Nazarenko, Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Col.-Gen. Nazarenko said salaries of the border guard staff are to increase starting January 1, 2016 but actual amount will depend on the money foreseen in the 2016 state budget. “Average salary of our troops is planned to be increased by UAH 700-1500 depending on rank and position. The increase is due to take effect on January 1, 2016 and will depend on the budget available,” said Col.-Gen. Nazarenko. The pay scale excludes border guards deployed to the ATO zone as they already get almost the same pay as other servicemen.
“The Wall” project of engineer fortification at the Ukrainian-Russian state border will similarly depend on the budget available. This year UAH 400 million has been disbursed for the project implementation, all money has been used accordingly, noted Col.-Gen. Nazarenko. He emphasized that the works were conducted only in Chernhiv and Kharkiv regions. “Two hundred and thirty kilometers have been equipped with anti-tank trenches in line with the plan, 125 km in Kharkiv region and 105 km in Chernihiv. Hundred and fifteen kilometers of roads in Kharkiv region in proximity to the frontline have also been equipped. Seventy two kilometers of metal fencing and 32 surveillance towers have been installed. Thermal imagery devices, video cameras and touch-sensitive devices have been installed at the border,” said Head of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service. The so-called “Smart Border System” is now introduced, it corresponds to the international standards and functions as a combat surveillance system. Col.-Gen. Nazarenko said that it is planned to finalize fortification in Kharkiv region next year, start works in Luhansk region and at the Ukrainian-Russian state border in Sumy region. “We also plan to continue works at the administrative border with Crimea and partly at the border with Transnistria using the same money source. We shall plan the works depending on the available funding that we are to receive for the next year,” noted Col.-Gen. Nazarenko.
Capacities of the State Border Guard Service are reinforced with more armored vehicles and modern weapons, capacities of Sea Guard and Border Guard Aviation are also bolstered due to Russian agression. “Thus the service now has about 240 armored vehicles of various types and crew-served weapons. […] Eleven ships and 52 motor boats have been used. Two patrol aircraft and four helicopters were fulfilling air patrolling and other tasks,” said Col.-Gen. Nazarenko. Additionally the service received seven light patrol vehicles last week.
Head of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service noted that in accordance with the Law on Cleansing of Authorities (Lustration) almost 50 percent of heads of administration’s structural units have been changed. “Four heads of regional directorates out of five and 16 heads of border surveillance units have been changed. Lustration checks of managerial staff have been finalized,” noted Col.-Gen. Nazarenko. He said 23,5 thousand persons were subject to such checks. Anticorruption measures in the service are underway. Over two thousand investigations and checks have been conducted over the year. “As a result three and a half thousand persons have been held liable, criminal cases have been started as to 123 of them, 88 have been convicted. A total of 688 servicemen have been fired, for 83 of them ranks and positions have been lowered,” said Col.-Gen. Nazarenko.
Head of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service said the agency has fully completed its commitments in the framework of Ukraine’s plan for visa liberalization with the EU. “In addition to biometric data set up we have also managed to install Interpol database at main border crossing points,” he added.
Reforming of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service continues as part of the defense bloc reforming. To improve the organizational structure of the service regional directorates have been reorganized, mobile operative-combat units have been granted more autonomy, academic institutions of the service have been reformed. “Kramatorsk border guard unit, 21st border guard unit, three command and control centers of rapid response have been additionally set up. They are equipped with armored vehicles, mortars, antitank and antiaircraft systems,” elaborated Col.-Gen. Nazarenko adding that the changes became possible due to the law introducing additional three thousand staff with the service.