Arms Scandal in Ukraine Gathers Strength

A scandal on the government-inspired illegal arm supplies to Georgia gathers strength in Ukraine. The Supreme Rada’s investigative commission, headed by Valery Konovalov, has already revealed facts on supplying arms worth a whopping 200 million dollars to the Saakashvili regime – money that had never reached Ukraine’s state coffers. Elaborating on that is our observer Alexander Vatutin.

The Ukrainian authorities appeared to have done their best to render a full-fledged aid to their staunch Caucasian ally – a fact that came to light following the end of the hostilities in the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict zone. In the course of a military operation against Georgian commandos, the Russian military collected imposing trophy of war, including the Ukrainian-made T-72 combat tanks, small-arms weapon and ammunition, which were used against Tskhinvali’s civilians. This is, however, only the tip of the iceberg.

Previously, there were reports about Russia’s TU-22 strategic bomber being shot down by Georgian air defense systems. But it is clear that the bomber could be hardly demolished by a mothballed air defenses the Georgian military was earlier equipped with. To all appearances, the Russian high-altitude bomber was eliminated by the most advanced S-200 air defense systems, which might well be supplied to the Saakasvili regime by no other than Ukraine. So it is safe to assume that the Yushchenko administration added significantly to building up Georgia’s offensive military muscles – a corruption-leaning move that patently rode roughshod over Ukraine’s existing legislation.

By the way, similar sandal recently hit Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the opposition leaders had pointed a finger at PM Nicola Spiric, who they claimed might well damage ties with the republic’s close ally Russia by moving to supply arms to Georgia.

The Russian side has given solid evidence that during the South Ossetian conflict, the Georgian military used the state-of-the-art military hardware made not only in Ukraine but in many other nations from around the globe as well. The Military Prosecutor-General, Sergei Fridinsky, says that the Russian peacekeepers seized plenty of military hardware and small-arms weapon produced by the United States, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania and Israel, whose drones, by the way, were widely used by the Georgian air forces.

In a recent interview with the Voice of Russia, a Moscow-based noted military expert lamented the fact that so far , there had been no international law which could bar a nation from supplying arms to the conflict areas. Alexander Pikayev added that in this sense, each country is keen to stick to its own policy principles.

Regrettably, an international document to prevent a nation from supplying arms to the conflict zones has not seen the daylight yet, Alexander Pikayev complains. At the same time, he adds, there are currently several EU accords that say a firm no to EU member states involvement in the matter. That means that by supplying arms to Georgia, EU members violated their own agreements, Alexander Pikayev contends.

It remains to be added that the current scandal seems to be the first robin in the chain of exposures that will certainly shed enough light on who moved to sponsor Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia

[Source: The Voice of Russia, Moscow, 05Sep08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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