Due to the rising concerns of potential Russian attack on Ukraine, reported by Ukrainian and American intelligence, Lviv city is starting to set up territorial defense structures, called battalions, according to new standards. This requires at least UAH 3.5 million ($130,000) for two years, as Oleksandr Koshel, the commander of the Lviv Territorial Defense Battalion, announced in a comment to Lviv Now.
«We are starting to form a territorial defense, but we won’t do anything without support. According to the law, 80% of the finance comes from the city budgets and the leadership of the district state administration,» Oleksandr Koshel says.
«The armed forces give us ammunition, defenses, and weapons. Everything else, from a pen to the fuel for driving to a training place, is from local funds. We have developed funding programs and offered them to local communities.»
He adds that the Lviv Territorial Community [reformed administrative unit that equals the city of Lviv] needs at least UAH 3.5 million ($130 000) for two years to equip premises for territorial defense battalions.
«It will take at least 3.5 million hryvnias if they provide a room that does not require major repairs. If they give a room without windows and doors, more money will be needed,» – Oleksandr Koshel explains.
In total, there should be seven territorial defense battalions in the Lviv region, one in each district.
The Ukrainian Parliament, Verkhovna Rada, adopted in the second reading and in general the draft laws №5557 «On the Fundamentals of National Resistance» and №5558 on increasing the number of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Law defines the legal and organizational principles of national resistance, the basics of its preparation and conduct, the tasks and powers of the security and defense forces on national resistance. The law comes into force on 1 January 2022.
In general, these laws are about the formation of territorial defense. Oleksandr Koshel explains that territorial defense existed even before the adoption of this law, but now, it’s being significantly strengthened.
«There were two officers in each battalion. They began to train the local civilian population. Now, according to the new law, it is proposed to increase the number of staff officers to 50 people. They will have the opportunity to better prepare the population to meet the enemy,» – he said.
All-military training will be conducted in educational institutions – schools, universities, summer camps. The practical training will be carried out by the personnel of the Territorial Defense Forces – on the training grounds and in the training centers – it is about training with small arms, as well as medical and tactical training.
We will add that due to the threat of Russian intervention in Lviv, the city wants to create a concept of territorial defense. Deputies of the Lviv City Council propose to prepare for the possible threat of full-scale Russian intervention, which is warned by experts from the United States and Ukrainian intelligence. In particular, the authorities start working with educational institutions, checking the shelters of civil defense, as well as developing the concept of territorial defense of Lviv.
Lviv Now talked to Ostap Kryvdyk, a political scientist-activist and associate researcher at the Ukrainian Catholic University’s Analytical Center, if Ukraine is ready for modern provocations, and whether the crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border is part of Russia’s plan to the invasion to Ukraine. You can read the interview here.
By Vitalii Holich
You can read a Ukrainian language version of this story here.