‘US dictating terms of EU foreign policy on Ukraine’
RT:The National Guard is heavily involved in the current crackdown on anti-government forces in the East. So how do you think their training and arming by the US will affect the course of the conflict?
Srdja Trifkovic: It is very important to point out that the National Guard is in fact the armed section of the Right Sector and the Svoboda Party. So that was really an elegant way for the putschist authorities in Kiev to bypass the ban on paramilitary organizations. They simply put them in Ukrainian National Guard uniforms and made them “legal.”
They are also highly motivated. Unlike the regular Ukrainian army, they are actually the ones doing most of the fighting. In particular most of them seem to come from Galicia and Podolia, and these regions are mostly known for being the hotbed of extreme nationalism.
I don’t think that the public figures such as $17-19 million amount to a great deal, but I believe the arming has been going on for quite some time. Let us not forget that a month ago Russian Deputy PM, Dmitry Rogozin warned that this was going on, and he said that the Western countries doing this were throwing kerosene on fire.
And also, even at the time when the Maidan turned seriously ugly in January, it was common knowledge in Kiev that the Lithuanian and Polish secret services were involved in providing training and equipment to the Maidan so-called “protesters.”
RT:The West has been putting pressure on Russia, accusing it of supporting self-defence activists with arms. And now both the US and the EU are doing just that to the other side - objectively what message does that send?
ST: The fundamental message is that the European Union has seized to be an autonomous or even semi- autonomous foreign policy actor in its own right. We have been hearing not only for years but for decades about the need for the EU to develop its own common foreign policy. Now what we are seeing is that the arm-twisting from Washington has succeeded and that the US is effectively dictating the terms of the EU foreign policy, and is in fact present on the European continent as a key architect of the security situation, to a greater extent than at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
RT:Why do you think the EU has lifted the arms ban on the quiet? How does the EU decision sit with its stated policy of not to supply arms to conflict-torn countries?
ST: Well of course it is a blatant hypocrisy. Not only, as the Russian Foreign Ministry said, because they wanted to ban such supplies to Yanukovich, but are now giving it to this lot, but because they actually refused to treat this as a conflict in the first place. It is simply a “rebellion,” and the so-called “legitimate Ukrainian authorities” are involved in the security operation to “re-establish law and order.” So what this implies is that any level of legitimacy is denied to the self-defence forces in the Lugansk and Donetsk Oblasts.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.