‘If an American general thanks Ukrainian soldiers for fighting, that means he is their general as well’

Reuters / Lucas Jackson
American general Ben Hodges handed out medals to wounded Ukrainian soldiers, thanking them for fighting for their country, which means the US openly says it is involved in the Ukrainian conflict, political analyst Aleksandr Pavic, told RT.

After the Mariupol shelling, videos appeared on the internet showing armed men wearing uniforms who spoke English sparking allegation that foreign military contractors might be fighting among Ukrainian troops.

RT:We've previously heard claims of Western private military companies active in Ukraine, could that explain the videos?

Aleksandr Pavic: Washington in fact just announced that they are sending American soldiers to Ukrainian this spring to give training to Ukrainian National Guard. And this was announced on January, 22 by the Commander of the US forces in Europe, General Ben Hodges. So they are going to train at least four companies of the Ukrainian National Guard - that’s really direct involvement and I’m sure it won’t end on just that.

RT:Kiev has long been urging the US to support it with arms - something Washington says it hasn't done. Will it one day agree to sell weapons to Ukraine?

AP: Well, arms are coming. I mean Congress has already approved some modest military aid to Ukraine. I think this happened recently, it’s relatively modest. You know there is so little transparency in Washington now. You can actually approve this sort of thing even without Congress, so I’m sure arms are coming in, no question about it. The Ukrainian army was on its knees just a few months ago. Somebody has to be helping them to replace what they lost during the last year and it’s certainly the Americans in the first place.

READ MORE: Military-clad English-speakers caught on camera in Mariupol shelling aftermath

RT:Do you think these videos are true and the West is really fighting on Kiev's side?

AP: Absolutely believe they are true. Last spring in Donetsk you could hear English-speaking uniformed personnel walking the streets while Donetsk was still in the hands of Kiev. And they were spotted by the locals. When they were spotted somebody started yelling “Blackwater” and they pretty much turned and walked or ran away… Also just a few days ago the chief of US forces in Europe, General Ben Hodges, whom I just mentioned, he visited the central military hospital in Kiev and he was actually handing out decorations, medals, to wounded Ukrainian soldiers, and he explicitly thanked them for their duty to their country, meaning pretty much that America is saying: “This is our war now.” An American General thanking Ukrainian soldiers for fighting for their country, what does this mean? It means that he is their general as well. Pretty much the United States is now openly saying that they are involved in the Ukrainian conflict.

RT:Kiev has also called for an emergency meeting with NATO over the recent escalation of the conflict. What could come of that do you think?

AP: Well, I think unless a country declares war on another country, pretty much if you get caught red-handed you are interfering in the internal affairs of another country, and even so I mean you must justify it in some way so they are still trying to keep a pretense of respecting international law and the UN Charter. So this is the main reason really that they are being very careful not to get caught. But again as we can see they are being supported; it’s just that it’s very spotty evidence. But somebody is helping the Ukrainian Army. They can’t renew their fighting capabilities by themselves, that’s for certain, and the aid must be coming in from the West. Where else is it going to be coming from?

Reuters / Ints Kalnins

‘West concerted effort to aid the junta’s repression of the population in the East’

According to foreign affairs expert Nebojsa Malic, videos circulating on the web prove there are Western servicemen involved in activities in Ukraine.

It could theoretically be Canadian, but it sounds to me like American military. This is perfectly in line with mainstream NATO policy of intervening in Ukraine providing ammunition, weapons and even advisors to the Kiev junta,” he said.

Last week, Malic said Bosnian Minister of External Trade and Economic Relations Boris Tucic “resigned over pressure to sell weapons and ammunition to the Kiev government.

So again we’ve got this concerted effort in the West to aid the junta’s repression of the population in the East combined with this propaganda war basically blaming everything on this phantom Russian invasion for which no evidence has ever been produced,” the analyst said.

Considered that US advisors were working with the Croatians back in the 1990s and that the Kiev government has repeatedly invoked this precedent as something they would like to see there. And considered persistent rumors that former Blackwater, now calling itself Academi, has been involved exactly in that particular area from Odessa to Mariupol,” Nebojsa Malic says that he wouldn’t be surprised if these English-speaking soldiers in East Ukraine are mercenaries.

However, according to the analyst, these people “have some very poor operational security practices otherwise nobody would have spoken English to a local TV reporter if they were trying to keep a secret.” As opposed to “a combat role of various Western volunteers who joined that volunteer battalions out of some personal Nazi sympathies,” these mercenaries are playing “a sort of advisory guidance role.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.