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.
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. Washington plans has 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. Canada has also sent 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.
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. 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.
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 [NAZI]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.) 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 [NAZI] 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. 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 combatants 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.
This Ukraine NATO cooperation is a development which is highly provocative to Russia, which says it will go to war to prevent Ukraine joining NATO. However NATO is rejecting any defense of Ukraine in response to a Russian move to liberate Ukraine from the Western coup government. Events are now picking up speed as fighting continues in the East is spite of a ceasefire and both Ukraine and Russia are gearing up for confrontation.