EU Lifts Ban on Military Related Export to Ukraine
nsnbc : The European Union, on Saturday, removed its ban on exporting military and related equipment to Ukraine that was adopted by the EU Council on February 20, 2014 as a measure against Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich who was ousted one day later.
The ban was implemented on February 20, after the European Council announced that it would be wrong to deliver weapons to the Yanukovich government under the current circumstances. On February 21 an agreement between President Yanukovich and representatives of the protesting opposition was signed.
The “deal” was signed in the presence of German Foreign Minister Fransk-Walter Steinmeier, Foreign Minister of Poland, Radoslaw Sikorski. and the Director at the Continental Europe Department of the French Foreign Ministry, Eric Fournier.
The predominantly U.S/UK supported “Euromaidan” opposition was represented by, among others, the leader of the UDAR party, Vitaly Klitschko, the head of the Batkivshchyna party, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and the leader of the ultra nationalist Svoboda party, Oleg Tyagnibok.
Also present at the negotiations and as witness during the signing ceremony, was the Russian Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin, who was quoted as saying that he noted the positive dynamic of the talks.
Only hours after the signing of the document that could have brought a peaceful solution to the conflict, the parliament in Kiev was seized by masked gunmen.
A vote in the presence of masked gunmen was held to remove President Yanukovich from his post due to the fact that he was unable to maintain his duties as President.
One of the first official acts of the new parliament was to announce that Russian would no longer be permitted as second official language, including in the predominantly Russian speaking regions of southeastern Ukraine. Some 3,500 governors from southeastern Ukrainian regions gathered for an emergency meeting in Kharkov to reject the legality of the putchist government and any of the laws it adopted under duress.
Although Ukraine has since held presidential elections, it still dies not have a legally or constitutionally elected parliament and with it a legally elected prime minister and other ministers.
The interim-government has, however, signed an association agreement with the European Union that contains a significant military dimension. Several European analysts perceive the lifting of the ban on the export of military equipment to Ukraine as part of the provisions contained in that association agreement.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded on Saturday, accusing the European Union of double standards. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the leaders of the EU member states quietly agreed on lifting the restrictions on the export of materials to Ukraine that could be used for the repression of the Ukrainian population. The statement specifically stipulated that the lifting of the ban included military technologies. The Russian Foreign Ministries statement appealed to the EU to use common sense, stating:
“We are once again urging our EU counterparts to use common sense rather than being guided by opportunistic reasons and goads from Washington”.
Although both the casualty figures among combatants and non-combatants in Ukraine are sketchy at best, there are analysts who estimate that the civil war has at least cost 3,000 since February, the hundreds of murdered police officers and protesters and the 298 persons on board of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 not included.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainians from the southeastern regions of the country have been forced to flee across the border to Russia to escape indiscriminate shelling of populated areas.
CH/L – nsnbc 03.08.2014