Why military cooperation with Ukraine must be scrapped

Now that prime minister Rutte has announced he is taking a few months to consider what to do with the outcome of the referendum on the Association treaty with Ukraine, it is up to us, the No vote, to come up with proposals. As far as the actual EU component is concerned, a lot can be done about it—but here, not necessarily in or with Ukraine. As far as the political part is concerned, there is a possibility to make changes and that concerns scrapping defence cooperation. Why? 

Currently Ukraine takes part in the EU Battle Group 'Visegrad'

Of course the restructuring of Ukraine into an agricultural satrapy of the EU already has geopolitical consequences. As a result of the rampage of the oligarchs, who instead of investing, focused on maximum exploitation of existing industries, securing the proceeds in Cyprus, the Netherlands, and other tax havens and black money sluices, the older industries have fallen behind. Next, the anti-Russian policy of post-coup governments after February 2014 has cut off the cheap energy source of the more traditional industries and robbed the most advanced companies such as Antonov, Motor-Sich, and others, of their main market, Russia—leading to their closure. Finally, EU ‘free trade’ ensures the restructuring towards mega-plantations of genetically modified sunflower and corn as well as the egg batteries and substandard chicken farms of Kosiuk, one of the oligarchs. Industry has been written off, millions will become jobless. And yet the fight against economic desertification will not be fought primarily in Ukraine but is on the agenda here. And as always in European history, it is France that leads the way.

So now, defence cooperation. That must be scrapped because the violent ultra-nationalist, anti-Russian forces that seized power in February 2014, still hold key positions in the state. In the campaign for the referendum the yes-camp kept denying this and insisting that the neo-Nazi party, Svoboda, had not made the threshold in the elections, and neither did Right Sector, the cupola of armed fascist gangs at Maidan. But that is just how you look at it. The co-founder of the party that was re-baptised Svoboda in 2004, Andriy Parubiy, was the head of the armed groups at Maidan, which killed more than hundred demonstrators and police. It was he who conducted the negotiations with the US and other NATO ambassadors in the German embassy in Kiev on the evening of 20 February. The armed seizure of power then brought Yatsenyuk, the prime minister selected by Victoria Nuland, to his government post. Parubiy became the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council; Dmytro Yarosh, the head of Right Sector, his deputy. The Ministry of Defence, all armed forces, the National Guard, and the intelligence services, all come under the authority of this Council. Parubiy was also actively involved in the preparations for the bloodbath among anti-Maidan demonstrators in Odessa on 2 May. Three weeks after the downing of Flight MH17 Parubiy resigned as secretary of the NSDC. Still today Kiev refuses to hand over radar data and the tapes with the conversations between air traffic control and the disaster plane. Not a trifle for a country with which we are cooperating militarily according to the Association agreement.

Electoral threshold? In the elections of late 2014 the new party of Yatsenyuk and Parubiy, the People’s Front, came out the largest with 22 percent. ‘Yats’ was reinstated as prime minister, Parubiy became vice-chairman of parliament, a post he still occupies. ‘Yats’ had campaigned with the commander of the Azov battalion, one of the militias that do the dirty work in the civil war in the east. That battalion has adopted the Wolf’s Hook as its symbol, the swastika-like sign of the Waffen SS division, Das Reich, and which was also adopted by the party that became Svoboda. Etc., etc.

More than twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ukraine is building a wall against Russia. That must be the ‘secure external border’ the radical neoliberals of D’66 campaigned for. But that border is not secure. Early 2008 Putin warned that further military adventures on the Russian border would not be tolerated. When Sakaashvili of Georgia nevertheless launched an attack on the breakaway province of South Ossetia on the opening day of the Beijing Olympics, the Russian 58th army was ready to deal with it (Sakaashvili has meanwhile absconded to Ukraine and now is governor of Odessa province).

So should we then organise a common defence with Ukraine, which has likewise provoked its Russian or otherwise Russian-oriented population to resistance and is waging war against its own population?

Kees van der Pijl

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