‘EU periphery countries taking brunt of US/EU interventionist policies in Ukraine’
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has called for a crackdown on paramilitary units working in the country, saying no political force should have armed squads at its disposal. The statement came after a violent stand-off in the western town of Mukachevo, between far-right extremists from the Right Sector group and the police.
RT:What is the Right Sector to Ukraine, do you think? And what’s the Western attitude now to the radical groups in Ukraine?
MA: I think the Right Sector, and I don’t want to overemphasize this, but I think the Right Sector troops are to Ukraine what Al-Qaeda is in Syria. They’ve been necessary and they’ve been supported by the US and the EU because they are the best fighters. We just saw [yesterday] that a tank battalion in the regular Ukrainian army made a video saying “we’re not going to fight anymore.” You’ve had problems with morale in the conscripted Ukrainian army. They don’t want to be there, they would rather be home.
The Right Sector is an ideological army like Al-Qaeda. Therefore they are motivated for other reasons to fight. Therefore, it would be very difficult to rein in groups like this. They were extremely useful in ratcheting up the violence for the Maidan. As a matter of fact, you needed to have that for the revolution to get off the ground. However, now you’re facing a Frankenstein monster that has been created by the US and by the EU, and they don’t know what to do about it.
In western Ukraine in the USSR you’ve seen a lot of extreme right groups, as well as in the western Ukraine. There were always skinhead demonstrations and these people are always active. They came to prominence in Maidan but they have been around for a number of years.
People in the West have started to believe their own propaganda. Any mention of neo-Nazis, extreme right wing, this is all just ‘Putin’s propaganda’. So therefore they have not considered this a possibility. US Congress has finally seen that there is a group called Right Sector that is putting SS stickers on their hats and logos on their hats and therefore is a danger.
RT:With the situation in Ukraine growing increasingly volatile. How much of a concern is this for EU countries?
Daniel McAdams: I think you have to make the distinction. We’ve learned over the last couple of weeks, and in particularly the last couple of days how the interior of the EU feels about its periphery. Look at the way that Greece has been treated these past few days. Hungary has also been on the same short end of the stick. Hungary has been complaining for a while that because of EU participation in the US regime change operations in Syria they have to receive thousands of Syrian refugees. When they attempted to close their border, at least control some of this, they were criticized and attacked by the EU.
On the same front the center of the EU and the US are the ones who stirred up the trouble in Ukraine. They are the ones who have created this chaos. Countries like Hungary and Slovakia on the periphery are once again taking the brunt of the interventionist policies of the US and the EU, and they are being told to shut up and take it. Let’s not forget that in Mukachevo there is a 10 percent Hungarian minority and a similar Slovak minority - we’re talking about thousands of people who are under threat.
RT:Is it going to be possible for President Poroshenko to disarm the Right Sector, and other paramilitary groups?
DM: Let’s not forget over the past how many months the US has been training a lot of these groups, not specifically the Right Sector, of course, but so concerned was the US Congress that recently they had to pass a law forbidding any money for training from going to train the Right Sector. If there was no possibility of that happening Congress wouldn’t have felt the need to chime in.
So on the one hand, the US is training a lot of these groups that are outside of the regular army. And now the President of Ukraine who has relied on these groups, because they have been the most effective fighters in the east particularly. He has relied on them, and now he claims that he is going to try to crack down on them. Well, good luck on that.
RT:The Ukrainian leadership has promised closer integration with the EU. Could the rise of extremist groups compromise that?
DM: I think it might be a one-sided love affair. Increasingly it looks like the EU was looking at Ukraine and wondering what the heck they’ve gotten into. Greece looks like Switzerland when you take a look at Ukraine’s economic problems. You got to add to that the enormous cultural problems, ethnic problems, an active civil war going on. I think we saw last week even one EU official, when he was courted by Ukrainian officials, said: “Let’s put this talk about an agreement on hold for a while.” They are finally realizing what they have gotten themselves into.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.