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Blue barrels containing toxic chemicals. Photo supplied

The West is ignoring Ukraine, complains ex-Minister

The Ukrainian Army General and former Defense Minister Alexander Kusmuk expressed concern in a TV interview that his country was being ignored by the West. Meanwhile, Russia is warning of new possible provocations.

Published: December 26, 2018, 7:56 am

    Kusmuk, the former Minister of Defense of Ukraine (from 1996 to 2001 and in the years 2004/2005), explained on Channel 112 that Kiev is beginning to worry about their Western partners.

    “It is not easy to give a true assessment, but it is sadly not positive,” Kusmuk said of the response by the international community to the recent incident in the Kerch Strait.

    He said the West has been signaling a certain amount of fatigue over Ukrainian problems and more and more often it implies that Kiev should solve its own problems.

    The most terrible thing that could happen to Ukraine, was the loss of political support, he said. The ex-minister referred to the – in his view – “undecided” reaction by the USA, Germany and the United Kingdom in relation to the incident at the border last month.

    Previously, the secretary of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Alexander Turchinov, had said that Ukrainian ships would continue into the Kerch Strait if necessary.

    On 25 November, the Russian Coast Guard stopped three Ukrainian ships and arrested their 24-strong crews, including at least two intelligence officers from the SBU. The ships had weapons on board, and wanted to continue to the Sea of ​​Azov, without their passage being previously cleared with the Russian border police.

    The ships had thus illegally entered Russian territorial waters with the transponders switched off and did not answer to to warnings from the Russian side that they had violated the state border.

    However, while Kiev described the incident as a deliberate Russian attack on its ships, and as an “aggressive act”. Moscow described this as a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and applicable bilateral agreements between the two countries.

    Ukrainian military maneuvers, troop movements and rhetoric of recent weeks, however, speak of a certain determination by the Ukrainian leadership.

    There seems to be little resignation in Kiev over the loss of Western support. Warnings about the concentration of Ukrainian military technology at the demarcation line of the unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic have so far gone unheeded.

    Also, information about shelling or the illegal incursions into the so-called “gray zone” have been noted with increased frequency. On December 24, the Russian Foreign Ministry once again drew attention to these issues.

    Information about the increased activity of the Ukrainian military near Donbass, “especially towards Mariupol and Gorlovka” is featured on the website of the Foreign Ministry.

    Among other things, the use of chemical weapons is mentioned as one possible scenario. According to one researcher, it is particularly worrying that in the Ukrainian media more and more “experts” talk about an alleged possible use of toxic agents by the People’s Armed Forces.

    According Donetsk news agency DNA, the deputy head of the Donetsk People’s Militia Eduard Basurin called a special press briefing about a suspicious railway transportation delivery that was recently spotted.

    “Our surveillance informed us about an arrival at the railway station of Krasnogorovka of blue barrels filled with strong toxic chemicals. It is currently unloaded by Ukrainian military personnel wearing protective suits,” said Basurin.

    He also pointed out that there were representatives of US and British intelligence services specialising in the conduct of diversionary acts in the area. He called on international organisations to respond to this information.

    But this warning is not new, because already at the end of November, the OSCE’s Russian representative to the OSCE, at an OSCE meeting, pointed out the danger of a provocation from Ukraine using toxic chemicals.

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