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U.S. drives a wedge between “war party” and “peace party” in Ukraine: interview with Ruslan Bortnik

Ruslan Bortnik. Photo: lawinrussia.ru

EADaily is publishing an interview with Ruslan Bortnik, the director of the Ukrainian Institute of Policy Analysis and Management.

U.S. House of Representatives has passed amendments to  H.R. 2685, the “Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2015.”  Congressional representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) offered the amendments. The amendments block the training of the “Azov Battalion” on U.S. funds and prevent the transfer of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles—otherwise known as Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPADS)—to Ukraine.  What political changes in US attitudes will it bring to Ukraine?

Actually, the United States makes Ukraine and President Poroshenko realize that U.S. is not ready to support the new right-wing radicals.  One the one hand, it will shatter the image of U.S. politicians ahead of the presidential election 2016. On the other hand, there is a very negative experience of Asia, I mean ISIS and many other organizations that have gained influence with the West’s support. The United States will not make the same mistake twice.  No one will support either radical forces, or, moreover, those that are uncontrollable. It is not only a political issue, but also a military one, as they think those weapons can be lost or end up in the hands of the so-called DPR and LPR.

What conclusions and steps should we expect from Kiev to make upon that?

I guess, Poroshenko and other politicians will think hard and begin distancing themselves from the volunteer detachments and groups, and radical forces.  I think it is a serious moral defeat for the right-wing forces in Ukraine.

Will it trigger a new wave of “war” between Poroshenko and “the war party”, considering that “Azov” battalion is enrolled into the National Guard – Arsen Avakov’s organization?

It cannot have any positive impact on their relations. I do not think there will be war. Simply, the president will have an official reason for those radicals either to suffer the same fate as Sasha Bilyi or be simply dissolved. It will become one more argument in the hands of the president and help him fighting Yarosh, the Right Sector, “Azov,” and other right-wing organizations.

What will the volunteer battalions, including “Azov,” do?

They feel themselves devoted to what they call protection of the western world from the Russian one. I do not think it will negatively affect their combat efficiency. Furthermore, now Levochkin and the former authorities are blamed for pressing the issue. Eventually, they may voice suspicions that the incumbent authorities of Ukraine pressed that issue.  Such suspicions may corrode the relations of the “war party” and the “peace party” in Ukraine.

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