Steinmeier and the Oligarchs

KIEW/DNEPROPETROVSK/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin is increasing pressure on Kiev that it enforces the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine. Observers consider the continuation of the civil war to be perilous. On the one hand, they see the risk of loosing even more territory to eastern Ukrainian insurgents, while on the other, it is unclear how the country’s total economic collapse can be avoided without ending the hostilities. Therefore, on the weekend, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier traveled not only to Kiev, but also to Dnepropetrovsk, the town of oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi. Even though Kolomoyskyi has recently stepped down as governor, he still wields significant influence over the – in some cases – fascist militias, which refuse a cease-fire. To put pressure on the fascists, who had helped execute the February 2014 Kiev coup, but are uncontrollable in the civil war, Berlin must make a deal with Ukrainian oligarchs. These same oligarchs had been the focus of the protests at the Maidan. Several times last year, Foreign Minister Steinmeier held personal consultations with powerful oligarchs – including President Poroshenko – or politicians directly dependent on them. The Ukrainian oligarchy has emerged unscathed from last year’s upheavals.

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Moving West

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – The Prime Minister of Ukraine has announced a new cooperation accord with NATO, under the terms of which Kiev will also intensify its cooperation with the transatlantic combat alliance in the domains of military intelligence and espionage. This announcement was made as NATO began initiating a large-scale deployment of military instructors in Ukraine. Ukraine is simultaneously transforming its arms industry production to meet NATO standards, which will permanently integrate that country into the structures of western arms producers. Experts are warning of exuberant corruption in Ukraine’s arms industry. A long-time notorious leader of fascist organizations has been appointed “advisor” to Ukraine’s Chiefs of Staff, just as the in part fascist-oriented volunteer battalions are being integrated into the ranks of the country’s regular armed forces. They too will benefit from NATO’s training and arming measures.

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Out of Control

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – Accompanied by protest demonstrations, Kiev’s Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, will have talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel today, Thursday, on expanding German support to Ukraine. Yatsenyuk is pursuing an arms buildup by all possible means. Observers assume that Kiev is preparing a new offensive in Ukraine’s civil war. It was reported that several NATO countries are involved in arming the country’s military. The German government confirmed back in September that it had satisfactorily complied with Ukraine’s requests including “defensive equipment”. Even trans-Atlantic supporters of Kiev’s February 2014 putsch, are now warning that a considerable rise in the influence of fascist militias and certain oligarchs is threatening to establish an uncontrollable warlord system. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s party has particularly taken the lead in supporting right-wing extremist battalions. Yesterday, Yatsenyuk was ceremoniously received by German President Joachim Gauck.

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