“There is one way the new Ukraine differs dramatically from the old Ukraine, and that is in the emergence of paramilitary battalions funded by oligarchs, political parties, and private donations. ” New York Times, 12 Feb 2015
“The uncomfortable truth is that a sizeable portion of Kiev’s current government — and the protesters who brought it to power — are, indeed, fascists.” Foreign Policy, March 18, 2014
As stated in the press, 600 paratroopers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade will arrive in Ukraine to train the Ukrainian National Guard. U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said that the training location is Yavariv training center in Western Ukraine. $19 million has been allocated by the US administration, from the Global Security Contingency Fund to help build up and train the Ukrainians.
The US military training of the Ukrainian National Guard units is really an example of the usual US-style "democracy building."The US is convinced that by training Kiev's Donbass "Anti-Terrorist Operation" shock troops will significantly help Ukraine to be more democratically empowered.
The Western media & US administration alike lavish a lot of attention on the entity called the National Guard, without revealing too much detail on the individuals units are supposedly part of it. Nor do they discuss the ultra-nationalist nature or deeply entrenched fascist ideology of some of the units. These "National Guard" willingly provide the backbone of the ATO forces, where they routinely shell, kill & plunder civilians in the dissenting regions of Donetsk & Lugansk. On the whole, western politcians, journalists & NGOs also pretend that there are very little human rights abuses taking place in Donbass. It took Amnesty International well over 6 months before releasing a report critical of one of the units, the Aidar Batallion.
We don’t need to go far back in history, to see similar examples of where truly brutal groups were financed & trained by the US. The KLA in Kosovo, the vicious so-called moderate rebels in Syria, the 1970’s nasty death squads of Central & South America, trained at the School of Americas. Now the US is set to repeat this technique, to a selection of Ukrainians units part of the National Guard.
One significant participant in the ATO operations is Right Sector, (Pravy Sektor or Правий сектор). From out of the chaos of Maidan, Right Sector activists helped to form their own ad-hoc paramilitary units, based on Territorial Defense Battalions such as the Donbass Battalion. Subsequently these morphed into the National Guard in November 2014. Other Right Sector members formed part of paramilitary groups including Dnipro, Aidar. They are purportedly all under the umbrella of the Interior Ministry & are considered as the National Guard. The only exception is Dmytro Yarosh’s own paramilitary unit.
Remember that the Right Sector is only an accredited political party since March 2014, under the leadership of leader Dmytro Yarosh, also a member of the Ukrainian parliament. So essentially the National Guard can be considered part of their military wing. Politically, it didn’t do well in the 2014 elections, however historically it has had stronger support from their homeland in Western Ukraine, with Lviv part of its central core. A tiny minor core of Western Ukrainians fanatics, with US backing, helped to violently overthrow , (notice the black & red Right Sector insignia & flags), a democratically elected government, a year before the next general elections were due. These fanatics have openly stated that they don’t think much of the EU, yet the EU politicans pretend that they represent "European values".
fascists” meme, but rather Right Sector’s ability to punch well above its weight within Ukrainian society. The group's omnipresence has progressively filtered through Ukrainian politics & law enforcement. They act as the enforcers of the Kiev regime, any dissent is met with violence and hate. They have labelled Russian speakers as ‘undesirables’ , worthy of not just targeted death threats but also actual killings. The tragic events in Odessa & Mariupol bear witness to the brutality of both the combination of Right Sector activists & the National Guard. Right Sector activists are with total impunity running a terror campaign throughout Ukraine.
Effectively, Right Sector & the National Guard are two sides of the same Ukrainian nationalist coin. This helps to explain why the regular Ukrainian army is being left out, despite the fact that it obviously also urgently needs training & equipment. The regular army lacks the motivation & hardcore ideological cadre that would make it a tough fighting force. Moreover, the National Guard is getting more than their “fair” share of modern military equipment. Moreover, there have been armed stand-offs between Right Sector activists & the army.
The Kiev government is totally unrepentant about the deployment of such units as part of its internal security forces. Western media is also unrepentant as well, judging by the absolute or positive images chosen to describe the units. Take the example of the Daily Mail: “The Donbass Battalion, a unit with Ukraine's National Guard engaged in battles around Lohvynove”. This is the same unit, who help to block humanitarian aid from reaching Donbass & kidnap & kill civilians.
West Ukrainian Right Sector activists have gone on the rampage in central Kiev, demolished Russian banks, beaten up Russian speakers, dumped “lustrated” individuals into rubbish dumps. They continually lash out hysterically at anyone who does not share their view on Ukraine & rant on about Russian aggression. In short, Right Sector is a group of hired thugs in the service of Kiev & Washington, who contributed to high levels of aggression & violence in Ukrainian society. Yet when these same activists don the uniform of the National Guard, become in the eyes of the US administration an individual in a unit designed to “maintain rule of law” in Ukraine.
It is not surprising to have seen the US army deployed to Yavoriv Training Area, near to Lviv, back in September 2014. This was part of Exercise Rapid Trident, a major USAREUR multinational exercise. What’s the difference between USAREUR & NATO? Very little. USAREUR will once more send a team of advisers to Western Ukraine in spring 2015, to train National Guard units. Why? Well here is a quote from the Pentagon- “ it is part of a U.S. State Department effort to assist Ukraine in strengthening its law enforcement capabilities, conduct internal defense and maintain rule of law”. Please note the last item, “maintain rule of law”, in the hands of the Ukrainian National Guard, underpinned by Right Sector. This is really just a very wafer thin veneer of political correctness on the part of the US administration.
Unofficially, the U.S. & NATO are already training, out of the media spotlight, under the guise of "contractors” no doubt. Elements of the National Guard 'combo' are also ideally suited in “asymmetrical warfare”, as behind the lines sabotage & infiltration irregular squads.
|Captured Azov Bat volunteer with his Black Sun tattoo|
The US administration & Right Sector - Uncomfortable bedfellows maybe for them is it a marriage of convenience for not just the short- term but long term. It has been the case since the end of the 2nd World War.
Top reads: NYT - http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/ukraine
Counterpunch - Toronto Star is running with the Extreme Right in Ukraine.