The equipment of one kilometer of the border will cost up to USD 1 mln. The expenditures for providing infrastructure in the near-border area shall be added to the above cost.
Text: Sergei Fedotov
The length of the Russian-Ukrainian border is about 2,250 km, including 1,925.8 km of onshore border (land – 1,500.2 km, rivers – 422.2 km, lakes – 3.4 km) and sea border – 320 km (it runs in the offshore areas of the Sea of Azov and the Black sea). After the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol had merged in Russia the above length increased by the 8 km of the Crimean onshore border.
The Wall of Promises
Back in September of the past year the Ukrainian side initiated the engineering equipment of the border with Russia. The project has been given the pompous name “Wall” and features a number of peculiarities.
In particular, it is supposed to dig a ditch to be appended by the optical and electronic surveillance systems, watch towers, etc. over the entire length of the onshore area. A ditch shall feature width of at least 4 meters and depth of 2 meters. The sea border of Ukraine will be protected by the remote control systems. The cost of project will amount to EUR 66 mln.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Prime-Minister of the Ukrainian Government, specified in December that four years and UAH 8 bln (more than USD 520 mln) will be required for project implementation.
The Russian side does not hide its skepticism towards Ukrainian plans. Konstantin Busygin, the Head of Rosgranitsa, commented particularly this initiative, “We understand that this is just the case of cash disbursement. Indeed, billions will be involved, and who is going to count how much soil was removed and how much was buried?”
The Numbers Tell the Stories Best
The border is crossed by 25 railway lines, 3 highways, about 100 roads with improved covering, nearly 300 unimproved roads and more than 400 detour roads. The border control is effected from the Russian side in 62 border checkpoints (37 automobile checkpoints, 15 railway checkpoints, 7 air checkpoints and 3 sea checkpoints).
At that, the Russian side pays its primary attention not to “security”, but to a “crossing” component of functioning within the framework of the Federal Target Program “State Border of the Russian Federation (2012−2020)”.
Let us clarify that the Federal Target Program provided for construction of more than 70 border objects. However, first of all, not in the south of Russia, but in the Asia-Pacific and Arctic regions and in the Russia-Kazakhstan area of the state border.
Therefore, more and more frequently we hear proposals about revising the Federal Target Program. So, according to Konstantin Busygin, an extensive modernization of the Crimean border checkpoints will be launched beginning from the year that comes about with total cost of RUR 6.9 bln.
In order to update the required scope of work the Head of Rosgranitsa became acquainted last year with the progress of preparation to modernization. He has visited the automobile border checkpoints in Armyansk, Perekop and Dzhankoy, railway checkpoints in Armyansk, Dzhankoy and sea checkpoint in Yevpatoriya and, of course, the air border checkpoints in Simferopol and Belbek.
Sure enough, it is necessary to additionally equip the crossing checkpoints in the “continental” part of the Russian-Ukrainian border.
The radar station “Forpost” intended for the state border protection has been presented at the Interpolitex-2014 exhibition. The plan-position system ready for quantity production is capable of revealing any moving objects at the distance up to 20 kilometers.
By the way, the Russian side adequately assesses the existing threats and will not stop with the “peaceful” border equipment only. A process of defense potential enhancement is going on.
But prior to spending the not-insubstantial state funds, it is necessary to balance the required risks. Otherwise speaking, a principle of equipping the Russian-Ukrainian border area with the Border Technical Security Equipment (BTSE) shall proceed from the concept being elaborated by the Border Guard of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, while the concept is being elaborated proceeding from the political will.
According to Leonid Brizitsky, Chief Engineer of RDE Avtomatika-S, a structure can generally consist of the following elements: physical obstacles in some areas; up-to-date warning complexes and aids (fibre optic and seismic); systems of visual and technical surveying (infrared imagers, video cameras, radio detection and location, etc). Besides, it is necessary to have the access control and monitoring systems; means of communication and information transmission in automatic mode from BTSE and power supply system for BTSE (or feeding it from the other sources).
“The cost of integrated system with a set of these devices can cost proceeding from the analysis of security systems market from RUR 18 to 40 mln per one kilometer of the state border”, the expert stated.
Leonid Brizitsky clarifies, “However, it is not sufficient to equip the state border using technical means only. After receiving a signal about border raid it is necessary to take the retaliatory measures, for instance, a turnout of an alert group to the place of violation.
But most frequently the civil roads are not laid along the borders. The fly-over crossings and bridges are to be built too.
Thus, Russia would like to restrain from escalation of expenditures for militarization of the Russian-Ukrainian border. But the circumstances compel to do so. The USA and the EU finance the project of technical assistance “Second defense line” for strengthening the Ukrainian border.
The means of transportation, including armoured off-road vehicles, and war outfit: American binoculars, portable infrared imagers, pneumo-framed modules, diesel generators, sleeping-bags and other equipment are being supplied.
The Federal Agency for the Development of the State Border Facilities of the Russian Federation (Rosgranitsa) has launched to establish an integrated system of state border crossing control (ISSB CC); it is planned to test the first system articles at the automobile checkpoints in 2016.