Ukraine and NATO: the authorities v gangsters

Ukrainians protest “visit” of USS Vella Gulf, a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser, at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in January 2012. Their slogans included “Yankee, go home!” and “No to NATO!” The protesters also burned a U.S. flag featuring Nazi swastika instead of stars. Yevhen Dubovik, a protest organizer, said the visit of a ship with offensive weapons was illegal because it had not been authorized by Ukraine’s parliament.

Ukrainians including veterans protest “visit” of USS Vella Gulf, a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser, at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in January 2012. Their slogans included “Yankee, go home!” and “No to NATO!” The protesters also burned a U.S. flag featuring Nazi swastika instead of stars. Yevhen Dubovik, a protest organizer, said the visit of a ship with offensive weapons was illegal because it had not been authorized by Ukraine’s parliament.

Following the overthrow of the government by an armed coup d’état, the goal of turning Ukraine into NATO territory complete with US military bases tops the agenda under the anti-Russian flag. This has been a consistent thrust of all governments since 1999, of both Yushchenko and Yanukovych, in the context of broad resistance by the people of Ukraine to the imperialist project.

In July 2008, anti-NATO protestors moved ten boats into positions blocking the exits from the port of Odessa, preventing NATO ships from participating in the Sea Breeze 2008 exercise. According to their statement, “The NATO drill in Odessa is being accompanied by numerous protests by local residents. This demonstrates the public mood in Ukraine over the government’s course toward early admission to the alliance.” A branch of the Ukrainian Communist Party in Donetsk said over 1,000 people had taken part in anti-NATO rallies in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine. In 2006, protests forced U.S. Marine reservists who came to prepare for the exercises to leave without carrying out their mission.

The extent of the anti-NATO resistance amongst Ukrainians was so broad that it could not be dismissed as something “ethnic” or “communistic.” Associated Press reported that, according to a June, 2008 poll conducted by the respected Razumkov Center, 60 per cent of Ukrainians opposed joining NATO, up from 53 per cent in February. The number of those in favour stayed the same: 21 per cent. “Sociologists say negative attitudes toward NATO have grown this year,” said AP, “sparked by government efforts to join the bloc and the ensuing protests, but they also attribute the hostility to poor information on the alliance among many Ukrainians.”

In February 2010 Yanukovych came to power on the basis of an explicitly anti-NATO platform, which he soon abandoned after assuming the presidency. Earlier, as prime minister from 2002-04, although Yanukovych’s parliamentary coalition was not supporting Ukrainian membership in NATO, his cabinet agreed the commission of Ukrainian troops to the Iraq War. When Yanukovych did not deliver the goods, the US-NATO bloc activated its fifth column, using its card of soft power, and installed Arseniy Yatsenyuk as their lackey and “prime minister” of the fascist junta, whom Obama calls a “democrat” and welcome in his house.

It is hardly fortuitous that the partners in Yatsenyuk’s Open Ukraine Foundation include the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US State Department, the NATO Information and Documentation Centre in Kiev operated by Canada, the US German Marshall Fund (Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation), Horizon Capital and Swedbank.

On March 6 the new junta expected to push NATO membership documentation through the Verhovnaya Rada. The same day Arseniy Yatsenyuk frenziedly rushed to Brussels to hold his first meeting in Brussels with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and invited members of NATO Council at the level of ambassadors to hold a “solidarity” meeting in Kiev. He said it would be good for Ukraine to get technical assistance from the bloc for improving its military capabilities and maintaining stability in the region. He was careful to say that full membership was not part of the immediate agenda – “This is not on our radars.” Nevertheless, the aim will be to put a new arrangement with NATO into place before the forthcoming elections.

The following excerpts from an interview by John Robles of Voice of Russia with Rick Rozoff, Stop NATO on January 27, 2014 provides background to the NATO project. Keep in mind that the Harper war government is up to its neck in the NATO Ukraine and Georgia project.

By RICK ROZOFF

“Ukraine has been gradually, I think unbeknownst to most people in Ukraine, and certainly outside, has been dragged into the NATO net deeper and deeper and deeper.” 

Activists protest as the USS Klakring sails into Sevastopol on March 25, 2009 for a five day “friendly visit.” Hundreds of Ukrainians shouted  "NATO out" as the US warship arrived in the Ukrainian port.

Activists protest as the USS Klakring sails into Sevastopol on March 25, 2009 for a five day “friendly visit.” Hundreds of Ukrainians shouted “NATO out” as the US warship arrived in the Ukrainian port.

Now, what we are talking about here in Crimea is of the upmost importance. The US has for several years now been waging, in conjunction with its NATO al­lies, annual fairly large-scale naval war games called Sea Breeze, and they are conducted in the Crimea dangerously close to where the Russian Black Sea fleet is stationed at Sevastopol. And even though a public outcry led to, or resulted in, a Sea Breeze exer­cise I think three years ago, perhaps four, being called off, they have been resumed and what has happened over the last two or three years, this is very signifi­cant, and I hope your listeners pick up on this, the US as a matter of course has been sending missile cruis­ers into the Black Sea to go to Crimea, to dock there.

These are what are called the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers, of the sort that are part of the US international missile, so-called missile shield, that is they are to be equipped with Standard Mis­sile-3 interceptor missiles, and these ships are visiting Ukraine on a regular basis.

Police confront members of Ukraine's Progressive Socialist Party as they took part in a rally against the Sea Breeze-2008 NATO military exercises in the Black Sea port of Odessa July 14, 2008. Naval and air forces from 15 countries took part in the military exercises.

Police confront members of Ukraine’s Progressive Socialist Party as they took part in a rally against the Sea Breeze-2008 NATO military exercises in the Black Sea port of Odessa July 14, 2008. Naval and air forces from 15 countries took part in the military exercises.

As the US continues its military takeover of the Black Sea, they’ve already done this with Bulgaria and Ru­mania, where they’ve acquired eight major military basses in those two countries. Turkey, of course, is a NATO ally and Ukraine then becomes a very signifi­cant factor in the US military takeover of the Black Sea largely through NATO expansion. But what is even I think of more concern, a WikiLeaks document of in the last couple of years revealed that in 2006 the then-head of the US Missile Defense Agency, he’s now retired, General Henry, or Trey, Obering, met with Ukrainian officials, this was during the Yush­chenko [administration], to recruit Ukraine into the European missile shield.

And in the subsequent year, 2007, General Obering, head the Missile Defense Agency, visited to Ukraine during the Yushchenko years, administration years, and met with the defence minister and other key offi­cials in Ukraine in an effort to bring Ukraine into that. If Ukraine were to join, along with Poland, Romania, Turkey and other countries, the beginning stages of the so-called European Phased Adaptive Approach for the interceptor missile system, this would be extreme­ly dangerous. This would be such an open provoca­tion to Russia that I don’t see how Russia could not take some fairly dramatic action in response to it.

So when we talk about the factors that are involved we have to keep several significant ones in mind. First of all, Ukraine is strategically vital, it is indispens­able. In the energy wars that the US and its European Union allies, which is to say NATO allies, have been waging over the past decade to try to curtail Russian exports of natural gas and oil to Europe, ultimately perhaps to cut them off altogether in favor of natural gas and oil projects bringing Caspian Sea energy into Europe via the Caucasus, Azerbaijan and Georgia, but of course from there to Ukraine, from Ukraine into the Western Europe. So Ukraine is significant in that sense.

Ukraine is also one of four countries that NATO has announced, four non-NATO countries, that are to join the NATO Response Force, that is the international strike force that NATO has developed. The other three are Georgia, Finland and Sweden. Of course three of those four countries, all except Sweden, have lengthy borders with Russia. And that Ukraine has been gradually, I think unbeknownst to most people in Ukraine, and certainly outside, has been dragged into the NATO net deeper and deeper and deeper.

Ukraine is, and these are significant facts, so I hope you don’t mind my emphasizing them. Ukrainet be­came the first, and to date only, non-NATO country to supply a naval vessel to what is now NATO’s perma­nent surveillance and interdiction naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea — Operation Active Endeavor. Ukraine’s second to that became the first, and to date only, non-NATO country to supply a ship to NATO’s Arabian Sea — Operation Ocean Shield. Ukraine, during the Kuchma government, supplied 2,000 troops to the United States, NATO in Iraq. They have a small contingent of troops serving under NATO’s Interna­tional Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Related reading on this website

M K Bhadrakumar, “Syria on the boil, U.S. warship in the Black Sea,” June 11, 2011

https://tonyseed.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/syria-on-the-boil-u-s-warship-in-the-black-sea/

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