From the UK to Ukraine: How UWC Procures Armored Vehicles for Ukrainian Defenders
Ukrainian security structures require armored vehicles to safely conduct successful operations on the battlefield. The Unite with Ukraine team had the challenging task of sourcing these vehicles in operable condition around the world, buying them from private owners and dealers, and delivering them to Territorial Defense Forces. This is how we do it. Read the full article at https://www.epravda.com.ua/publications/2023/04/26/699483/.
Why the United Kingdom? Because for many years the UK’s military has been selling used armored vehicles at auction to civilian collectors and dealers. The armaments are removed, nonetheless these heavy tracked vehicles are in demand among British residents. These "expensive toys" are used as attractions in various businesses or simply stored in the warehouses and showrooms of collectors.
"We had observed locations where these armored vehicles were used as an attraction for paintball games. You can gather with friends, take one vehicle each and play war. It shocked us as we were searching for equipment for the frontlines of the war in Ukraine, but for them, these are just toys," says Andrew Potichnyj, director of the Unite with Ukraine initiative at the Ukrainian World Congress.
All available possible opportunities to buy armored vehicles in the UK were discovered and filtered by local volunteers from the Ukrainian diaspora. The armored vehicles, much like civilian cars, can be found in various conditions and offered in a diverse range of pricing. Not every piece of machinery was deemed suitable for combat. The Ukrainian charitable organizations involved in these purchases had to include specialists to assess the reliability of each vehicle in person.
To verify the quality of the armored vehicles, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) brought officers of the logistics department of the TDF to the UK. The Serhiy Prytula Fund involved its own volunteers in this process.
"You can usually identify visually when a machine has been taken care of and when it has been sitting in a field for 30 years. It is better not to buy equipment used in attractions and theme parks because they have very high mileage on the engines. The best option is to buy armored vehicles from collectors or professional suppliers who repair them, change oil and filters, perform regular maintenance, and understand the conditions in which they will be used," said Potichnyj.
The Ukrainian World Congress was able to procure and successfully deliver a lot of 25 armored vehicles to the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine thanks to donations from the diaspora and friends of Ukraine from 70 countries. A second lot of equipment, this time 15 armored vehicles has already been financed and is being prepared for transport to Ukraine.
According to Potichnyj, since the early summer of 2022, prices for armored vehicles in the UK have increased on average by 25-35%.
"Military grade armored vehicles lose and gain their value just like regular civilian vehicles. For example, you can find and buy a 2015 Mercedes G Wagon for $80,000 and simultaneously for $5,000. It all depends on the condition, the buildout of the vehicle, and the specific model. If there is suddenly an increase in demand, the prices will accordingly rise. You cannot simply compare two Spartans because they both are called Spartans; you need to orient yourself with the specifics of each individual piece of equipment before starting to make comparisons" says Potichnyj.
The Ukrainian World Congress has revealed that the equipment was transported from the UK to Ukraine by truck. Heavier vehicles like FV432’s were transported on larger trailers, while smaller vehicles like Spartans were transported in pairs.
The trucks were ferried to the Netherlands, and then driven across Europe to Warsaw. There, the armored vehicles were lifted onto trucks belonging to Ukrainian carriers by crane and delivered to brigade commanders on the territory of Ukraine.
Read the full article at https://www.epravda.com.ua/publications/2023/04/26/699483/.
The equipment is already at work in Eastern Ukraine. They help to preserve the lives of soldiers and personnel and allows them to carry out a wider range of tasks in comparison to when using light unarmored civilian vehicles. "Our people are completely satisfied with the opportunity to use such equipment," said Oleksandr Muzyka, an officer of the Command of the Territorial Defense Forces, which received the armored vehicles from the UWC.
Russian propagandists have spread a video online of a destroyed “Spartan” near Bakhmut. The Ukrainian World Congress confirmed that that this was their vehicle.
"The vehicle came under a barrage of artillery fire. It was destroyed but the entire crew of personnel survived, and this is the purpose of this armored equipment. It is expensive and difficult to import, but on the front line it has already saved the lives of several defenders. This is the main result of our work," emphasized Andrew Potichnyj, Director of the Unite with Ukraine initiative at the Ukrainian World Congress.