Moving West

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - The Prime Minister of Ukraine has announced a new cooperation accord with NATO, under the terms of which Kiev will also intensify its cooperation with the transatlantic combat alliance in the domains of military intelligence and espionage. This announcement was made as NATO began initiating a large-scale deployment of military instructors in Ukraine. Ukraine is simultaneously transforming its arms industry production to meet NATO standards, which will permanently integrate that country into the structures of western arms producers. Experts are warning of exuberant corruption in Ukraine's arms industry. A long-time notorious leader of fascist organizations has been appointed "advisor" to Ukraine's Chiefs of Staff, just as the in part fascist-oriented volunteer battalions are being integrated into the ranks of the country's regular armed forces. They too will benefit from NATO's training and arming measures.

Military Cooperation

Ukraine is expanding its NATO cooperation. As Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced on Wednesday, the country would sign a memorandum with the western alliance to this effect. The memorandum will be signed within the framework of the "Partnership for Peace" program, reinforcing cooperation in advisory activities, military intelligence and espionage.[1] The new accord comes at a time when several NATO members are initiating large scale training measures for the Ukrainian armed forces. Already since last year, US and NATO military advisors are on duty in Ukraine. These include, according to media reports, an officer of the German Bundeswehr.[2] Washington plans, still in April, to dispatch 300 soldiers to nearby West Ukraine's Lvov, where they will train three Ukrainian battalions. Great Britain is sending seventy-five military instructors, half of whom are already in Mykolaiv, in South Ukraine. According to media reports, Canada is also preparing to send military advisors. The German Bundeswehr has reported that its support goes beyond merely medical supplies and "medical treatment for seriously wounded soldiers;" it has also been "training" the Ukrainian army.[3]

Conform to NATO Standards

Running parallel to this training, the Ukrainian arms industry is converting its production to meet NATO standards. Already on the occasion of the "International Defense Industry Exhibition," on September 3, 2014, which has been held annually in Kielce, Poland since 1993, a conference was convened under the auspices of NATO to discuss the future of Ukraine's arms industry in the aftermath of Kiev's pro-western coup d'état. Ukraine's state-owned Ukroboronprom defense firm announced on March 4 that it was working with NATO's codification and standardization teams to improve its industrial capabilities.[4] Ukroboronprom incorporates more than 130 arms companies. A "roadmap," designating the path toward the Ukraine arms industry's adaption of NATO's standards by 2018, was established on March 31, at an international seminar of experts. Participating at the conference were experts from Poland and the Czech Republic, who had had the experience of making the identical transformations of their own arms industries, back in the 1990s. This standardization of their military products with those produced in the western combat alliance will mean that the Ukrainian arms industries are permanently shutting themselves off from the Russian companies, with which they had been closely cooperating up to 2013.

Remarkable Deals

Experts are warning of exuberant corruption in the Ukrainian arms industry, which is now definitely also infecting the Western camp. The Ukrinmash company, for example, which is part of the Ukroboronprom consortium, was "probably involved in illegal arms exports," according to an expert at the Institute of International Relations of the University of Warsaw.[5] Ukrinmash became known, when Somali pirates seized a freighter carrying 33 Ukrainian tanks headed for South Sudan. Ukrinmash had also illegally delivered BM-21 "Grad" rocket launchers and anti-aircraft weapons to the secessionist regime in Juba - in violations of UN-sanctions - which, at the time, was still part of Sudan. The deal had been made in the interest of the West and in plain sight of military observers, including those from the Bundeswehr. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[6]) As the Warsaw expert notes, Ukrinmash is cooperating now also with the French Thales as well as British and US arms companies - resulting in lucrative deals. Ukrinmash has also imported outdated British armored personnel carriers, a deal bringing such high profits that the competent military authorities felt obliged to launch investigations. It remains a mystery, why Ukrinmash would provide Kiev's fighting units in Eastern Ukraine - of all things - hunting rifles.

Parallel Military Structures

While NATO is intensifying its cooperation with Ukraine and its arms industry, fascist combat units are strengthening their influence within the country's armed forces. In February, 17 volunteer - including openly fascist oriented - battalions fighting in Eastern Ukraine, united to form a "Joint Staff," claiming they were an "alternative to the Chiefs of Staff of the regular armed forces." (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[7]) The "Joint Staff" did not set up headquarters in Kiev but in Dnipropetrovsk, which also is the residence of oligarch, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, acting as governor and who has been financing various volunteer battalions since the putsch in February 2014. He has likely become the most powerful man in Ukraine. A new unofficial power base was developing, whose armed units had been openly insubordinate, refusing to follow Kiev's orders. In an unprecedented battle for influence, President Petro Poroshenko, himself an oligarch, pulled the ripcord in late March, and deposed Kolomoyskyi as governor. Since then he has again been seeking to centralize the political power on Kiev.

Integration of Fascist Battalions

The integration of fascist battalions into the regular armed forces is but one of these efforts. For this purpose, Ukrainian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Viktor Muzhenko has made a deal with Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the "Right Sector" last weekend. According to this agreement, the volunteer battalions - while preserving their status as independent units - will be integrated into the regular armed forces and obey orders of the Chiefs of Staff, particularly in the war against an "external enemy" - meaning the Eastern Ukraine conflict.[8] In return, Yarosh, who for years has been the most notorious of Ukraine's fascist leaders, will be officially appointed "advisor" to the Chief of Staff. NATO will no longer be able to circumvent the combattants of the fascist battalions, in its support for the Ukrainian army (training and armament), and may even have to cooperate with the longtime fascist leader and current advisor of the Chief of Staff, Dmytro Yarosh.

Other reports and background information on Germany's policy toward Ukraine can be found here: The Kiev Escalation Strategy, The Free World, A Fatal Taboo Violation, The Europeanization of Ukraine, "Fascist Freedom Fighters", The Restoration of the Oligarchs (IV), For Peace and Freedom, The Finnish Model, Second-Class Stakeholders, Establish Facts, Ukrainian Patriots, Ukrainian Maneuvers, A Lesson Learned, Under Tutelage, Nationalist Upsurge, Out of Control, The Usefulness of a Ceasefire and From Račak to Maidan.

[1] NATO, Ukraine to sign memo under Partnership for Peace Program - Yatseniuk. en.interfax.com.ua 08.04.2015.
[2] London schickt Militärberater in die Ukraine. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 26.02.2015. See Die Zeit der Waffen.
[3] "Ukrainische Schwerverletzte bei uns in besten Händen". www.bundeswehr-journal.de 17.03.2015.
[4] Charles Forrester: Ukroboronprom works on NATO part codification. www.janes.com 05.03.2015.
[5] Andrzej Szeptycki: Behind the Scenes of Ukraine's Defence Industry. www.neweasterneurope.eu 09.03.2015.
[6] See Establishing a State.
[7] Ukrainische Freiwilligenverbände rücken von Kiew ab. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 20.02.2015. See Mit allen Konsequenzen.
[8] Right Sector leader Yarosh appointed adviser to chief of Ukraine's General Staff. www.unian.info 05.04.2015.