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FTR #826 Bringing It All Back Home, Ukrainian Style, Part 2

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by 10/02/2014. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #812 [2].  (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012 and con­tained FTR #748 [3].)

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Lis­ten: MP3

This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [7].  

[8]

Insignia on Azov sol­diers’ hel­mets

This descrip­tion con­tains mate­r­i­al not includ­ed in the orig­i­nal pro­gram.

Intro­duc­tion:  In FTR #824 [9], we not­ed the deci­sive role played by the Ukrain­ian dias­po­ra in the events unfold­ing in East­ern Europe. Dat­ing to poli­cies imple­ment­ed by the Aus­tro-Hun­gar­i­an Empire and per­pet­u­at­ed dur­ing the rise of fas­cism, the Sec­ond World War and the Cold War, the Ukrain­ian dias­po­ra has dri­ven the course of events there and in coun­tries con­tribut­ing to the cri­sis.

(We have cov­ered the ascen­sion of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a num­ber of pro­grams: FTR #‘s 777 [10]778 [11]779 [12]780 [13]781 [14]782 [15], 783 [16]784 [17]794 [18]800 [19]803 [20]804 [21], 808 [22]811 [23]817 [24]818 [25]824 [9].)

Indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions are return­ing to Ukraine from abroad, with pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko imple­ment­ing a legal gam­bit to per­mit for­eign nation­als [26] to assume cab­i­net posi­tions in his new gov­ern­ment. In par­tic­u­lar, Poroshenko expressed the desire to incor­po­rate cit­i­zens of the U.S., Geor­gia and Lithua­nia in Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment.

[27]

14th Waf­fen SS troops inspect­ed by Himm­ler. The divi­sion’s vet­er­ans hon­ored, and were hon­ored by, Svo­bo­da’s leader.

In short order, Ukrainian/American State Depart­ment Offi­cer Natal­ie Jaresko [28], Lithuan­ian-born U.S. cit­i­zen Air­vas Abramovi­cius and Geor­gian Alek­san­dre Kvi­tashvili [29] assumed the posts of finance min­is­ter, eco­nom­ic and devel­op­ment and trade min­is­ter and health min­is­ter respec­tive­ly. All three were edu­cat­ed in the Unit­ed States.

The appoint­ments come as Ukraine is on the verge of default­ing [30] on a $17bn IMF loan. (Ukrain­ian bonds are under­writ­ten by–you guessed it–the U.S. tax­pay­er [31].)

Poroshenko also want­ed for­eign nation­als to staff the Ukrain­ian fed­er­al police [26]–the equiv­a­lent of our FBI. In that con­text, it is inter­est­ing and alarm­ing that he is grant­i­ng cit­i­zen­ship [32] to mem­bers of the Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion. Will they help to staff the Ukrain­ian fed­er­al police?

Peo­ple from the “pun­ish­er” battalions–Azov is one of them–are in Wash­ing­ton D.C. lob­by­ing Con­gress [33] for mil­i­tary aid. They are being assist­ed in this effort by the UCCA, the largest OUN/B front orga­ni­za­tion in the Unit­ed States. (The day this pro­gram was record­ed, the bill passed Con­gress [34].)

This comes amidst calls by some of the pun­ish­er bat­tal­ion com­man­ders to open­ly invade Russ­ian ter­ri­to­ry.

The Ukrain­ian lob­by­ists have intit­mat­ed that Amer­i­cans should be will­ing to “die for Ukraine.” Azov com­man­der and mem­ber of par­lia­ment Andrei Bilet­sky is push­ing for Ukraine to devel­op nuclear weapons.

At the same time that this is going on, an advis­er to the head of the SBU (Ukraine’s fed­er­al intel­li­gence ser­vice) has admit­ted that there are no Russ­ian com­bat units [35] in Ukraine.

The pro­gram con­cludes with dis­cus­sion of a new “Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion Pol­i­cy,” [36] run by Yuriy Stets, a pro­duc­er on a TV sta­tion owned by Poroshenko. Crit­ics have labeled it “The Min­istry of Truth,” after the state run pro­pa­gan­da bureau in George Orwell’s 1984. Stets has served as the PR per­son for Ukraine’s Nation­al Guard, to which the pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions belong!

[37]

Azov bat­tal­ion’s insignia: Do YOU think they should have nuclear weapons?

It appears that accu­rate infor­ma­tion about Ukraine will be even hard­er to come by in the future. (We high­light­ed the Orwellian cov­er­age of Ukraine being dis­sem­i­nat­ed in the U.S., com­par­ing our media [15] and those of Ukraine [14] with Orwell’s Min­istry of Truth.)

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Natal­ie Jaresko’s close con­nec­tions to the US Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment (which is very close to U.S. intel­li­gence); Jaresko’s appar­ent­ly cor­rupt behav­ior [38] at a fund she man­aged; alle­ga­tions of forced pros­ti­tu­tion with­in the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary; Petro Poroshenko’s role as an advo­cate for pri­va­ti­za­tion of state assets while serv­ing as Vic­tor Yanukovich’s Econ­o­my Min­is­ter [39] (the cor­rup­tion and eco­nom­ic incom­pe­tence of the Yanukovich gov­ern­ment was the osten­si­ble cause of the Maid­an coup); Natal­ie Jaresko’s efforts on behalf of the Yuschenko gov­ern­ment, which was instru­men­tal [14] in bring­ing the OUN/B Ukrain­ian dias­po­ra back home.

1a. Sup­ple­ment­ing infor­ma­tion in FTR #824 [9], we note that the Ukrain­ian dias­po­ra is return­ing home, BIG TIME! Petro Poroshenko has wast­ed no time in the inclu­sion of Ukrainains from abroad into his cab­i­net. For­mer U.S. State Depart­ment offi­cer and Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can Natal­ie Jaresko has been appoint­ed as the Min­is­ter of Finance.

She over­saw a U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment-linked fund pri­or to her appoint­ment. (U.S. AID has strong links to U.S. intel­li­gence.)

“Ukraine’s Made-in‑U.S.A. Finance Min­is­ter” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 12/5/2014. [28]

Ukraine’s new Finance Min­is­ter Natal­ie Jaresko, a for­mer U.S. State Depart­ment offi­cer who was grant­ed Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship only this week, head­ed a U.S. gov­ern­ment-fund­ed invest­ment project for Ukraine that involved sub­stan­tial insid­er deal­ings, includ­ing $1 mil­lion-plus fees to a man­age­ment com­pa­ny that she also con­trolled.

Jaresko served as pres­i­dent and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of West­ern NIS Enter­prise Fund (WNISEF), which was cre­at­ed by the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment (U.S. AID) with $150 mil­lion to spur busi­ness activ­i­ty in Ukraine. She also was cofounder and man­ag­ing part­ner of Hori­zon Cap­i­tal which man­aged WNISEF’s invest­ments at a rate of 2 to 2.5 per­cent of com­mit­ted cap­i­tal, fees exceed­ing $1 mil­lion in recent years, accord­ing to WNISEF’s 2012 annu­al report [40].

The growth of that insid­er deal­ing at the U.S.-taxpayer-funded WNISEF is fur­ther under­scored by the num­ber of para­graphs com­mit­ted to list­ing the “relat­ed par­ty trans­ac­tions,” i.e., poten­tial con­flicts of inter­est, between an ear­ly annu­al report from 2003 [41] and the one a decade lat­er.

In the 2003 report, the “relat­ed par­ty trans­ac­tions” were summed up in two para­graphs, with the major item a $189,700 pay­ment to a strug­gling com­put­er man­age­ment com­pa­ny where WNISEF had an invest­ment.

In the 2012 report, the sec­tion on “relat­ed par­ty trans­ac­tions” cov­ered some two pages and includ­ed not only the man­age­ment fees to Jaresko’s Hori­zon Cap­i­tal ($1,037,603 in 2011 and $1,023,689 in 2012) but also WNISEF’s co-invest­ments in projects with the Emerg­ing Europe Growth Fund [EEGF], where Jaresko was found­ing part­ner and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer [42]. Jaresko’s Hori­zon Cap­i­tal also man­aged EEGF.

From 2007 to 2011, WNISEF co-invest­ed $4.25 mil­lion with EEGF in Ker­ameya LLC, a Ukrain­ian brick man­u­fac­tur­er, and WNISEF sold EEGF 15.63 per­cent of Moldova’s Fin­com­bank for $5 mil­lion, the report said. It also list­ed exten­sive exchanges of per­son­nel and equip­ment between WNISEF and Hori­zon Cap­i­tal.

Though it’s dif­fi­cult for an out­sider to ascer­tain the rel­a­tive mer­its of these insid­er deals, they could reflect neg­a­tive­ly on Jaresko’s role as Ukraine’s new finance min­is­ter giv­en the country’s rep­u­ta­tion for cor­rup­tion and crony­ism, a prin­ci­pal argu­ment for the U.S.-backed “regime change” that oust­ed elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych last Feb­ru­ary.

Declin­ing Invest­ments

Based on the data from WNISEF’s 2012 annu­al report, it also appeared that the U.S. tax­pay­ers had lost about one-third of their invest­ment in WNISEF, with the fund’s bal­ance at $98,074,030, com­pared to the ini­tial U.S. gov­ern­ment grant of $150 mil­lion.

Giv­en the col­laps­ing Ukrain­ian econ­o­my since the Feb. 22 coup, the val­ue of the fund is like­ly to have slipped even fur­ther. (Efforts to get more recent data from WNISEF’s and Hori­zon Capital’s Web sites were impos­si­ble Fri­day because the sites were down.)

Beyond the long list of “relat­ed par­ty trans­ac­tions” in the annu­al report, there also have been vague alle­ga­tions of impro­pri­eties involv­ing Jaresko from one com­pa­ny insid­er, her ex-hus­band, Ihor Figlus. But his whis­tle-blow­ing was shut down by a court order issued at Jaresko’s insis­tence.

John Helmer, a long­time for­eign cor­re­spon­dent in Rus­sia, dis­closed the out­lines of this dis­pute in an arti­cle [43] exam­in­ing Jaresko’s his­to­ry as a recip­i­ent of U.S. AID’s largesse and how it enabled her to become an invest­ment banker via WNISEF, Hori­zon Cap­i­tal and Emerg­ing Europe Growth Fund.

Helmer wrote: “Exact­ly what hap­pened when Jaresko left the State Depart­ment to go into her gov­ern­ment-paid busi­ness in Ukraine has been spelled out by her ex-hus­band in papers [44] filed in the Chancery Court of Delaware in 2012 and 2013. …

“With­out Figlus and with­out the US Gov­ern­ment, Jaresko would not have had an invest­ment busi­ness in Ukraine. The mon­ey to finance the busi­ness, and their part­ner­ship stakes, turns out to have been loaned to Figlus and Jaresko from Wash­ing­ton.”

Accord­ing to Helmer’s arti­cle, Figlus had reviewed com­pa­ny records in 2011 and con­clud­ed that some loans were “improp­er,” but he lacked the mon­ey to inves­ti­gate so he turned to Mark Rachkevych, a reporter for the Kyiv Post, and gave him infor­ma­tion to inves­ti­gate the pro­pri­ety of the loans.

“When Jaresko real­ized the beans were spilling, she sent Figlus a reminder that he had signed a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment” and secured a tem­po­rary injunc­tion in Delaware on behalf of Hori­zon Cap­i­tal and EEGF to pre­vent Figlus from fur­ther reveal­ing com­pa­ny secrets, Helmer wrote.

“It hasn’t been rare for Amer­i­can spous­es to go into the asset man­age­ment busi­ness in the for­mer Sovi­et Union, and make prof­its under­writ­ten by the US Gov­ern­ment with infor­ma­tion sup­plied from their US Gov­ern­ment posi­tions or con­tacts,” Helmer con­tin­ued. “It is excep­tion­al for them to fall out over the loot.”

Jaresko, who served in the U.S. Embassy in Kiev after the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union, has said [45] that West­ern NIS Enter­prise Fund was “fund­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment to invest in small and medi­um-sized busi­ness­es in Ukraine and Moldo­va – in essence, to ‘kick-start’ the pri­vate equi­ty indus­try in the region.”

While the ulti­mate suc­cess of that U.S.-funded endeav­or may still be unknown, it is clear that the U.S. AID mon­ey did “kick-start” Jaresko’s career in equi­ty invest­ments and put her on the path that has now tak­en her to the job of Ukraine’s new finance min­is­ter. Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko cit­ed her expe­ri­ence in these invest­ment fields to explain his unusu­al deci­sion to bring in an Amer­i­can to run Ukraine’s finances and grant her cit­i­zen­ship.

A Big Invest­ment

The sub­stan­tial U.S. gov­ern­ment sum invest­ed in Jaresko’s WNISEF-based equi­ty fund also sheds new light on how it was pos­si­ble for Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for Euro­pean Affairs Vic­to­ria Nuland to tal­ly up U.S. spend­ing on Ukraine since it became inde­pen­dent in 1991 and reach the astound­ing fig­ure of “more than $5 bil­lion,” which she announced to a meet­ing of U.S.-Ukrainian busi­ness lead­ers last Decem­ber as she was push­ing for “regime change” in Kiev.

The fig­ure was so high that it sur­prised some of Nuland’s State Depart­ment col­leagues. Sev­er­al months lat­er – after a U.S.-backed coup had over­thrown Yanukovych and pitched Ukraine into a nasty civ­il war – Under Sec­re­tary of State for Pub­lic Affairs Richard Sten­gel cit­ed the $5 bil­lion fig­ure as “ludi­crous” Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion after hear­ing the num­ber on Russia’s RT net­work.

Sten­gel, a for­mer Time mag­a­zine edi­tor, didn’t seem to know [46] that the fig­ure had come from a fel­low senior State Depart­ment offi­cial.

Nuland’s “more than $5 bil­lion” fig­ure did seem high, even if one count­ed the many mil­lions of dol­lars spent over the past cou­ple of decades by U.S. AID (which puts its con­tri­bu­tions to Ukraine at $1.8 bil­lion) and the U.S.-funded Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy, which has financed hun­dreds of projects for sup­port­ing Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal activists, media oper­a­tives and non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions.

But if one looks at the $150 mil­lion largesse bestowed on Natal­ie Jaresko, you can begin to under­stand the old adage that a hun­dred mil­lion dol­lars here and a hun­dred mil­lion dol­lars there soon adds up to real mon­ey.

Those pay­ments over more than two decades to var­i­ous peo­ple and enti­ties in Ukraine also con­sti­tute a major invest­ment in Ukrain­ian oper­a­tives who are now inclined to do the U.S. government’s bid­ding.

1b. More about Natal­ie Jaresko:

She over­saw a U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment-linked fund pri­or to her appoint­ment. (U.S. AID has strong links to U.S. intel­li­gence.) Note, as well, that she was part of Vik­tor Yuschenko’s team when he mar­ried OUN/B oper­a­tive Yka­te­ri­na Chu­machenko. As dis­cussed in FTR #781 [14], Yuschenko white­washed Ukraine’s World War II his­to­ry, trick­ing out the Ban­dera forces as heroes.

“Meet and Greet Natal­ie Jaresko, US Gov­ern­ment Employ­ee, Ukraine Finance Min­is­ter” by John Helmer [post­ed by Yves Smith]; Naked Cap­i­tal­ism; 12/4/2014. [38]

The new finance min­is­ter of Ukraine, Natal­ie Jaresko, may have replaced her US cit­i­zen­ship with Ukrain­ian at the start of this week, but her employ­er con­tin­ued to be the US Gov­ern­ment, long after she claims she left the State Depart­ment. US court and oth­er records reveal that Jaresko has been the co-own­er of a man­age­ment com­pa­ny and Ukrain­ian invest­ment funds reg­is­tered in the state of Delaware, depen­dent for her salary and for invest­ment funds on a $150 mil­lion grant from the US Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment. The US records reveal that accord­ing to Jaresko’s for­mer hus­band, she is cul­pa­ble in finan­cial mis­con­duct.

Natal­ie Jaresko was appoint­ed on Mon­day, and approved by a vote of the Verk­hov­na Rada on Tues­day [47] evening. A pres­i­den­tial tweet [48] and an announce­ment from the office of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko say a decree [49] has been signed grant­i­ng Jaresko Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship to qual­i­fy her to take office. The legal­i­ty of the decree was chal­lenged today by the head of Poroshenko’s bloc in par­lia­ment, Yury Lut­senko [50].

For the record of Jaresko’s pre­de­ces­sor at the Finance Min­istry in Kiev, Alexan­der Shla­pak, click [51].

On Tues­day at the State Depart­ment, spokesman Marie Harf was asked [52]: “appar­ent­ly a U.S. nation­al has been appoint­ed finance min­is­ter. Has Wash­ing­ton some­thing to do with this appoint­ment?” Harf replied: “No, this is a choice for the Ukrain­ian peo­ple and their elect [sic] rep­re­sen­ta­tives. This is their deci­sion. Cer­tain­ly, I don’t think we had any­thing to do with it at all… the Ukrain­ian peo­ple and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives are able to pick who­ev­er they want to be part of their gov­ern­ment. That’s the beau­ty of how this process works.”

Jaresko was born into the Ukrain­ian émi­gré com­mu­ni­ty of Chica­go [53], tak­ing her name from her father John Jaresko. Her broth­er, also named John, has been active in Ukrain­ian move­ments and received [54] a medal in 2010 from then Pres­i­dent Vic­tor Yushchenko. At the time, sis­ter Natal­ie was an appointee of Yushchenko’s For­eign Investors Advi­so­ry Coun­cil and the Advi­so­ry Board of the Ukrain­ian Cen­ter for Pro­mo­tion of For­eign Invest­ment. Yushchenko had giv­en her the St. Olga medal in 2003.

Old­er sis­ter, Kather­ine [55], mar­ried a Ukrain­ian, as did Natal­ie, who is 49. In 1989 Natal­ie Jaresko mar­ried Ihor Figlus, and took his name until their mar­riage end­ed in divorce in 2010.

For a study of the influ­ence in Kiev of Katery­na Chu­machenko and oth­er Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can women employed by the State Depart­ment, includ­ing Jaresko, read this [56]. Chu­machenko (below 2nd from left, with Pres­i­dent George Bush in 2005) is the sec­ond wife of Vic­tor Yushchenko, the Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent between 2005 and 2010.

Figlus was at the US Embassy in Kiev, when Natal­ie was post­ed there.

Figlus went on to run the Amer­i­can Cham­ber of Com­merce in Ukraine. He then took charge of the West­ern NIS Enter­prise Fund (WNISEF). Accord­ing to the career resume Natal­ie has issued [45], she was “a cofounder of Hori­zon Cap­i­tal and has served as its Man­ag­ing Part­ner since March 2006, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly serv­ing as Pres­i­dent and CEO of West­ern NIS Enter­prise Fund (WNISEF), a posi­tion she has held since Feb­ru­ary 2001. Pri­or to join­ing WNISEF, Jaresko worked at the U.S. Depart­ment of State. From 1992 to 1995, she served as the First Chief of the Eco­nom­ic Sec­tion of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and before that, she served in var­i­ous eco­nom­ic posi­tions at the State Depart­ment in Wash­ing­ton, DC.”

Since Jareshko and Figlus divorced, he has been air­brushed out of the busi­ness his­to­ry she has por­trayed as the basis of her expe­ri­ence, and of her prep­ping to be the new finance min­is­ter of Ukraine. Hori­zon Capital’s web­site [57] lists as its founders Jaresko, two Amer­i­cans (with Har­vard degrees and Chica­go back­grounds like Jaresko; below 1 and 2) and a Cana­di­an-Ukrain­ian (3).

Accord­ing to a recent Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty paper from Chica­go [53], “Jaresko has worked more than 20 years in Ukraine as a ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist, bring­ing count­less for­eign invest­ments to Ukraine.” Count­ing the count­less, Jaresko has dis­closed [45] that the kick­off fund WNISEF was “fund­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment to invest in small and medi­um-sized busi­ness­es in Ukraine and Moldo­va – in essence, to “kick-start” the pri­vate equi­ty indus­try in the region. We began invest­ing in this region in 1995, and have invest­ed $122 mil­lion over the past 12 years in 30 busi­ness­es in a wide vari­ety of sec­tors. Based on our team’s abil­i­ty to suc­cess­ful­ly nav­i­gate this busi­ness envi­ron­ment, our track record, and Ukraine’s promis­ing eco­nom­ic envi­ron­ment, we found­ed Hori­zon Cap­i­tal in 2006.”

The US Gov­ern­ment mon­ey has come from the US Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment (USAID). Reports promised [58] by the web­site on the impact of its fund­ing oper­a­tions in Ukraine and Moldo­va between 1997 and 2005 are miss­ing. The finan­cial report [41] for WNISEF for 2003, the first pub­licly avail­able, reveals that a USAID grant to the fund amount­ed to $150 mil­lion, with a let­ter of cred­it com­mit­ment of $141.7 mil­lion; $113.6 mil­lion had been dis­bursed by the end of 2003. Asset val­ue was drop­ping that year, while man­age­ment salaries, busi­ness trav­el and oth­er expens­es were ris­ing. The fund was loss­mak­ing — $4.3 mil­lion in the red in 2002, $5.1 mil­lion lost in 2003.

The lat­est avail­able report from WNISEF is for 2012. It can be read here [40]. Invest­ed asset val­ue in 2012, though up on 2003, was falling from the year before, 2011. Invest­ment income for 2012 came to $1.2 mil­lion, down 43% on the pre­vi­ous year. The man­age­ment kept help­ing itself to more pay, but cut busi­ness trav­el. Still, the bot­tom line was a loss of $6.4 mil­lion, com­pared to a gain in 2011 of $401,662.

Hori­zon Cap­i­tal says WNISEF was “the cor­ner­stone lim­it­ed part­ner in EEGF” – that’s Emerg­ing Europe Growth Fund, LP. Its port­fo­lio is report­ed here [59]. Emerg­ing Europe Growth Fund II, L.P. is what Jaresko’s group calls “a fol­low-on fund expand­ing on the suc­cess of Emerg­ing Europe Growth Fund, L.P. (EEGF), a $132 mil­lion fund raised in 2006 with a sim­i­lar invest­ment strat­e­gy. Investors include Euro­pean and U.S. fund-of-funds, banks, pri­vate pen­sion funds, uni­ver­si­ty endow­ments, fam­i­ly offices, and high net worth indi­vid­u­als. EEGF II typ­i­cal­ly invests $15–40 mil­lion in each of its port­fo­lio com­pa­nies, includ­ing expan­sion, buy-out and selec­tive ear­ly stage oppor­tu­ni­ties.” Tin­koff Cred­it Sys­tems of Rus­sia is (maybe was) its lead [60] port­fo­lio asset.

The suc­cess Hori­zon Cap­i­tal claims for its funds appears not to have been report­ed in the loss­mak­ing years, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012. In the only two years which Jaresko man­aged in the black, 2007 and 2011, the net gains report­ed were $1.8 mil­lion and $401,662, respec­tive­ly. On the asset side the annu­al reports are dom­i­nat­ed by USAID’s out­lay of $150 mil­lion. If oth­er investors sub­scribed funds, they appear to have lost them.

When Jaresko was asked about the invest­ment per­for­mance, she has said: “we are very pleased with both the invest­ment pipeline and the exit envi­ron­ment, and believe 2006 will be a very good vin­tage for our investors.” The audit­ed report [61] for 2006 indi­cates there was a net invest­ment loss of $5.3 mil­lion.

Accord­ing to remarks pub­lished [62] in Kiev by Tim­o­thy Ash, an ana­lyst at Stan­dard Char­tered bank Lon­don, Jaresko is “very well-pre­pared, high­ly expe­ri­enced and tough as nails, she brings with her the unique abil­i­ty to pick up the phone and reach vir­tu­al­ly any deci­sion mak­er in Wash­ing­ton with­out any intro­duc­tion nec­es­sary; they know her – and they trust her.” Ash also says: “she fits the bill as an inter­na­tion­al expert, clean, and like­ly to be a rad­i­cal thinker – able to think out­side the box in terms of ideas. Ukrain­ian speak­er, and has been res­i­dent in Ukraine for years so knows how things work, or rather don’t work.”

Inter­viewed by tele­phone, Ash said he did not know the US Gov­ern­ment was financ­ing Jaresko’s invest­ment fund. “The US does do that”, he con­ced­ed. Asked for what he knows of the suc­cess of her invest­ment port­fo­lio and expe­ri­ence, Ash said he lacked details. “She’s been in the coun­try [Ukraine] for twen­ty years… I don’t know any­thing about the suc­cess [of the invest­ment firm].” To be a finance min­is­ter, Ash added, “you don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to be a finance min­istry per­son.”

“She is extreme­ly well qual­i­fied for this posi­tion – no doubt at all and any rea­son­able per­son read­ing this CV would say the same. Did a career in pol­i­tics, not finance, make UK Chan­cel­lor George Osborne qual­i­fied for his posi­tion, or even Gor­don Brown before him.” Asked what Ash means by char­ac­ter­iz­ing Jaresko as “clean”, and what he knows about her links to the Ukrain­ian oli­garchs, he said: “I don’t think she’s aligned with any oli­garch.”

What expo­sure does his bank have to Ukraine at the moment? Ash replies: “giv­en UK reg­u­la­to­ry require­ments I do not have access to that information…perhaps you would like to be aware that I have ‘Under­weight’ rec­om­men­da­tions on both Ukraine and Rus­sia – so if you are try­ing to imply some­thing inap­pro­pri­ate there, I would not both­er.”

The one link to a Ukrain­ian oli­garch in Jaresko’s pub­lic record is with Vic­tor Pinchuk, for whom she has been a reg­u­lar par­tic­i­pant at his Yal­ta Euro­pean Strat­e­gy (YES) meet­ings and speak­er at oth­er func­tions Pinchuk has spon­sored [63].

What Jaresko has had to say pub­licly this year is not much. In May 2014, speak­ing [64] to the Ger­man Mar­shall Fund of Wash­ing­ton she talked up “com­pet­i­tive­ness” and “infra­struc­ture” in Ukraine, but omit­ted to iden­ti­fy the impact of civ­il war on the invest­ment case. The fol­low­ing month, in June 2014, speak­ing [65] in Stock­holm, Jaresko said “what you see in the news­pa­pers is a small, small part of the real­i­ty, the real­i­ty is much rich­er, the oppor­tu­ni­ties much greater, the real change much deep­er than any­one could read about in the news­pa­per.” Again, no men­tion of civ­il war.

For details of the per­for­mance of Hori­zon Capital’s funds in 2013, Tatiana Bega, the firm’s invest­ment rela­tions spokesman in Kiev, was asked to clar­i­fy whether the reg­is­tered own­er­ship of Hori­zon Cap­i­tal is Ukrain­ian; what the val­ue is of the funds cur­rent­ly under man­age­ment; how prof­itable the firm is cur­rent­ly; and what “port­fo­lio invest­ments you have made which you con­sid­er to have been suc­cess­ful”. There has been no reply. In Jan­u­ary of this year Jaresko placed an autho­rized ver­sion of her career suc­cess in the Ukraine edi­tion of Forbes, which can be read here [66]. The reporter, Yele­na Shkarlo­va, omit­ted to check Jaresko’s audit­ed reports to ver­i­fy what she was told.

Exact­ly what hap­pened when Jaresko left the State Depart­ment to go into her gov­ern­ment-paid busi­ness in Ukraine has been spelled out by her ex-hus­band in papers filed in the Chancery Court of Delaware in 2012 and 2013. A judge­ment by Vice Chan­cel­lor Don­ald Par­sons, con­firm­ing the facts, can be read here [44]. With­out Figlus and with­out the US Gov­ern­ment, Jaresko would not have had an invest­ment busi­ness in Ukraine. The mon­ey to finance the business,and their part­ner­ship stakes, turns out to have been loaned to Figlus and Jaresko from Wash­ing­ton.

Accord­ing to the judge, “Plain­tiff Emerg­ing Europe Growth Fund, L.P. (“EEGF”or the “Part­ner­ship”) is a Delaware lim­it­ed part­ner­ship formed to make equi­ty and debt financ­ing invest­ments in pri­vate­ly held com­pa­nies in Ukraine and Moldo­va. Plain­tiff Hori­zon Cap­i­tal GP, LLC (“HCG” or the “Gen­er­al Part­ner”, and col­lec­tive­ly with EEGF, “Plain­tiffs”) is a Delaware lim­it­ed lia­bil­i­ty com­pa­ny and the gen­er­al part­ner of EEGF. Defen­dant Ihor Figlus (“Figlus” or “Defen­dant”) is a lim­it­ed part­ner of EEGF. Figlus pre­vi­ous­ly was mar­ried to non-par­ty Natal­ie A. Jaresko. Jaresko is a co-founder of HCG and is the chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of EEGF….Figlus and Jaresko mar­ried in 1989. In Feb­ru­ary 2006, the cou­ple joint­ly invest­ed $150,000 in EEGF. Lat­er that year, in Sep­tem­ber, they invest­ed an addi­tion­al $1.1 mil­lion in EEGF. Figlus and Jaresko divorced in 2010. They cur­rent­ly hold their inter­ests in EEGF joint­ly, pend­ing a set­tle­ment of their assets.”

The court has found that in Jan­u­ary 2011, after the divorce, Figlus dis­cov­ered he owed mon­ey as a co-sig­na­to­ry with Jaresko of loan agree­ments with which their posi­tions in the funds had been financed. Judge Parsons’s nar­ra­tive: “He request­ed infor­ma­tion regard­ing EEGF and sev­er­al loans Figlus and Jaresko had secured from HCG affil­i­ate Hori­zon Cap­i­tal Asso­ciates, LLC (“HCA”) to finance the couple‘s invest­ment com­mit­ments to EEGF (the “loans”).”

By Sep­tem­ber of 2011, after Figlus (right) has tes­ti­fied that he had read the doc­u­ments pro­vid­ed by his wife’s asso­ciates, he con­clud­ed that the loans were “ improp­er”. That alle­ga­tion he was unable to resolve with Jaresko, so Figlus turned to the Kyiv Post, a local Eng­lish-lan­guage news­pa­per, and its reporter, Mark Rachkevych. Accord­ing to the court record, “because he had no mon­ey to inves­ti­gate the Loans, Figlus decid­ed to inform Rachkevych of his sus­pi­cions and have Rachkevych inves­ti­gate the pro­pri­ety of the Loans. Over the next five months, Figlus and Rachkevych engaged in video con­ver­sa­tions regard­ing EEGF.”

When Jaresko real­ized the beans were spilling, she sent Figlus a reminder that he had signed a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment. Jaresko then enforced this with “a cease and desist let­ter to Figlus on behalf of EEGF demand­ing that he imme­di­ate­ly dis­con­tin­ue dis­clos­ing con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion regard­ing EEGF.” Because Figlus wasn’t deterred, Jaresko went to court in Delaware in Octo­ber 2012, and got a tem­po­rary injunc­tion pro­hibit­ing Figlus from dis­clos­ing any more.

Jaresko’s pur­pose, he now alleges, was not only to silence Figlus, but to strip him of his stake in their busi­ness part­ner­ship. “The record should be clear,” accord­ing to the judge, “that the par­ties to the agree­ment in ques­tion tru­ly were sophis­ti­cat­ed and oper­at­ed on a lev­el play­ing field. In this case, we have the unusu­al cir­cum­stance that a divorce set­tle­ment is pro­ceed­ing con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous­ly with this law­suit. Figlus‘s ex-wife is a founder of the Part­ner­ship and an offi­cer of the Gen­er­al Part­ner, both Plain­tiffs in this action. Figlus avers that he offered to resolve the case and to strict­ly com­ply with the Con­fi­den­tial­i­ty Pro­vi­sion but that Plain­tiffs insist­ed on pur­su­ing the action at his expense to dis­pos­sess him of his inter­est in the Part­ner­ship to the ben­e­fit of his ex-wife. At this stage, of course, these are mere­ly alle­ga­tions and I express no opin­ion as to the truth of any of Defendant‘s alle­ga­tions.”

The news­pa­per in Kiev was silenced, and there is no sign in its archive that Rachkevych, still a reporter for the Post, has recov­ered his inves­tiga­tive inter­est in Figlus, Jaresko, or Hori­zon Cap­i­tal. . . .

2. As Anders Aslund of the pro-aus­ter­i­ty Peter­son Insti­tute sug­gested in the Wall Street Jour­nal recent­ly, pri­va­tiz­ing Ukraine’s assets is, itself, one of the cures for cor­rup­tion. So are cuts in pub­lic spend­ing and dereg­u­la­tion.

 The Petetr­son Insti­tute is basi­cally a mouth­piece for the inter­na­tional oli­garchs that want to see a world run by finance and bil­lion­aires. It’s going to be impor­tant to keep in mind that gut­ting the Ukrain­ian pub­lic sec­tor, slash­ing pub­lic spend­ing, dereg­u­lat­ing busi­ness, and gen­er­ally sell­ing off the state assets to the oli­garchs and inter­na­tional investors is prob­a­bly going to be the tem­plate for the offi­cial “anti-cor­rup­tion” cam­paigns going forard. Are cor­rupt oli­garchs cor­rupt­ing your gov­ern­ment? Why not sell off state assets to them to end the cor­rup­tion.

“Ukraine’s Ene­my With­in” by Anders ÅslundThe Wall Street Jour­nal [67]; 10/01/2014. [67]

Exter­nal threats to Ukraine from Rus­sia have dom­i­nated the news for months, but as that sit­u­a­tion starts to sta­bi­lize the coun­try will need to con­front an old, inter­nal ene­my: cor­rup­tion. Trans­parency Inter­na­tional ranks Ukraine 144 out of 177 coun­tries on its cor­rup­tion-per­cep­tion index. Cor­rup­tion was at the heart of pop­u­lar dis­con­tent with the deposed regime of Vik­tor Yanukovych, and wide­spread graft helps explain why the econ­omy stalled in 2012 and 2013. Kiev must tack­le this prob­lem urgent­ly, even as its lead­ers con­front Russia’s ter­ri­to­r­ial ambi­tions.

The scale of the graft under the pre­vi­ous admin­is­tra­tion, if the alle­ga­tions turn out to be true, is breath­tak­ing. Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk has accused the Yanukovych regime of steal­ing $37 bil­lion from the state—equal to one-fifth of Ukraine’s GDP in 2013—during its four years in pow­er.

This cor­rup­tion is said to have tak­en sev­eral forms. The Yanukovych admin­is­tra­tion was alleged­ly able to buy nat­ural gas at low, state-con­trolled prices and then resell it at mar­ket prices that could be as much as eight times high­er. Volodymyr Groys­man, Ukraine’s cur­rent deputy prime min­is­ter, has said that gas worth $2.5 bil­lion was sold this way.

Infra­struc­ture projects have also come under sus­pi­cion. In August 2008, for exam­ple, the city of Lviv was accept­ing ten­ders for a foot­ball sta­dium to host the 2012 Euro­pean cham­pi­onships. Alpine, an Aus­trian com­pany, placed a bid at $191 mil­lion, accord­ing to com­pany records, but it was reject­ed since the request was for pro­pos­als of up to $116 mil­lion. In the end, the con­struc­tion of the sta­dium was award­ed to Donet­sk-based Altkom, accord­ing to the Ukrain­ska Prav­da. The total cost came in at $370 mil­lion, accord­ing to gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments. The Euro­pean Invest­ment Bank, which had intend­ed to con­tribute to the financ­ing of the sta­dium, with­drew in protest.

...

Cleans­ing Ukraine of its cor­rup­tion will require sev­eral inter­re­lated mea­sures. In this regard, Esto­nia and Geor­gia have shown the way.To begin with, the state needs to lim­it its reg­u­la­tory role by abol­ish­ing or merg­ing many state agen­cies. Min­i­miz­ing state inter­fer­ence in the economy—whether by pri­va­tiz­ing state-owned assets or cut­ting regulations—reduces oppor­tu­ni­ties for cor­rup­tion in the first place.

The gov­ern­ment should also cut pub­lic expen­di­tures, and cor­rupted sub­si­dies must be elim­i­nated. The dereg­u­la­tion of gas and elec­tric­ity prices in this case must be seen as a mat­ter of com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion, not as a social issue. The poor can be giv­en tar­geted cash com­pen­sa­tion instead. The tax sys­tem also needs to be sim­pli­fied and the tax police abol­ished, to shield tax­pay­ers from law­less per­se­cu­tion. Ukraine has recent­ly adopt­ed a law on pub­lic pro­cure­ment requir­ing open pub­lic ten­ders, and vot­ers should demand their lead­ers fol­low that law to the let­ter.

Offi­cials also must focus on deliv­er­ing reli­able rule of law. This should entail the cre­ation of an inde­pen­dent com­mis­sion scru­ti­niz­ing all the top judges and pros­e­cu­tors in Ukraine and dis­miss­ing those found to have engaged in graft.

By sign­ing the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the Euro­pean Union, Ukraine has com­mit­ted itself to adopt­ing hun­dreds of reform laws, while the EU has com­mit­ted itself to pro­vid­ing sub­stan­tial tech­ni­cal assis­tance in draw­ing up new laws and reor­ga­niz­ing state agen­cies. That deal is on hold for now, but Brus­sels and Kiev can still find ways to move for­ward. Those parts of the agree­ment that tar­get cor­rup­tion, for exam­ple, should be a pri­or­ity; as should build­ing a strong and inde­pen­dent judi­cial sys­tem.

The Ukrain­ian peo­ple have made a choice for Europe. If they stick with it and pur­sue reform with deter­mi­na­tion, they will have their best chance to clean out the Augean sta­bles of a long-cor­rupt sys­tem.

3a. So is pri­va­ti­za­tion, gut­ting state spend­ing, and dereg­u­la­tion (the ol’ eco­nomic shock doc­tine) the kind of “rad­i­cal” “out­side the box” think­ing we should expect?

Con­sider that this was the same plan Petro Poroshenko had back in 2012 when he was Vic­tor Yanukovich’s eco­nomic mini­ster:

“Ukraine Set to Pri­va­tize Hun­dreds of State Firms: Paper”; Reuters.com; 9/26/2012. [39]

The Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment has draft­ed a law that paves the way for the pri­va­ti­za­tion of hun­dreds of state-owned com­pa­nies pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered strate­gic, Kom­m­er­sant-Ukraine news­pa­per report­ed on Wednes­day cit­ing a leaked draft doc­u­ment.

Ukrain­ian Econ­omy Min­is­ter Petro Poroshenko said this week the gov­ern­ment planned to remove about 1,200 enter­prises from the list of strate­gic assets that can­not be pri­va­tized, Ukrain­ian media report­ed, but did not name any.

Accord­ing to Kom­m­er­sant, the draft law lifts the ban on pri­va­tiz­ing numer­ous coal mines, oil and gas pipelines, grain silos and oth­er indus­trial assets.

The sell-off could pro­vide extra bud­get rev­enues for the cash-strapped for­mer Sovi­et repub­lic and also harks back to 1990s moves that freed up busi­ness and drove devel­op­ment of the Euro­pean Union’s east­ern mem­ber states.

“Should the new list pass through the Rada (par­lia­ment), it might pave the way for a new round of mas­sive pri­va­ti­za­tion in Ukraine,” VTB Cap­i­tal said in a note on Wednes­day.

“Car­ry­ing out the process in a trans­par­ent and com­pet­i­tive way would pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant boost to the state bud­get in the com­ing years, and to the over­all finan­cial posi­tion.”

But, since Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovich’s elec­tion in ear­ly 2010, many pri­va­ti­za­tion auc­tions have been won by his campaign’s main finan­cial back­ers, indus­tri­al­ists Rinat Akhme­tov and Dmytro Fir­tash.

Com­pa­nies close to Akhme­tov, in par­tic­u­lar, have pur­chased stakes in a num­ber of elec­tric pow­er com­pa­nies while Firtash’s group has won most auc­tions for region­al gas dis­tri­b­u­tion com­pa­nies.

“...Exam­ples of pri­va­ti­za­tion in Ukraine sug­gest that such (trans­par­ent and com­pet­i­tive) con­di­tions are not always met in a way that max­i­mizes the ben­e­fits for the state,” VTB Cap­i­tal said.

...

3b. To the sur­prise of no one aware of Ukraine’s dire eco­nom­ic straits, Ukraine is at the brink of finan­cial col­lapse. It is alto­geth­er unlike­ly that the privatization/slash spend­ing cat­e­chism will avert this.

As dis­cussed in pre­vi­ous shows [18] on Ukraine, the U.S. tax­pay­er is on the hook [31] for Ukraine’s debt.

“IMF Warns Ukraine Bailout at Risk of Col­lapse” by Peter Spiegel and Roman Olearchyk; Finan­cial Times; 12/9/2014. [30]

The Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund has iden­ti­fied a $15bn short­fall in its bailout for war-torn Ukraine and warned west­ern gov­ern­ments the gap will need to be filled with­in weeks to avoid finan­cial col­lapse.

The IMF’s cal­cu­la­tions lay bare the per­ilous state of Ukraine’s econ­omy and hint at the finan­cial bur­den of prop­ping up Kiev as it bat­tles Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratist rebels in its east­ern regions.

The addi­tional cash need­ed would come on top of the $17bn IMF res­cue announced in April and due to last until 2016. Senior west­ern offi­cials involved in the talks said there is only tepid sup­port for such a size­able increase at a time Kiev has dragged its feet over the eco­nomic and admin­is­tra­tive reforms required by the pro­gramme.

“It’s not going to be easy,” said one offi­cial involved in the talks. “There’s not that much mon­ey out there.”

...

With­out addi­tional aid, Kiev would have to mas­sively slash its bud­get or be forced to default on its sov­er­eign debt oblig­a­tions. Since the bailout pro­gramme began in April, Ukraine has received $8.2bn in fund­ing from the IMF and oth­er inter­na­tional cred­i­tors.

Pierre Moscovi­ci, the EU eco­nom­ics chief, said the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion was weigh­ing a third res­cue pro­gramme on top of the €1.6bn ($2bn) it has already com­mit­ted to Kiev; the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment has request­ed an addi­tional €2bn from Brus­sels.

But Pier Car­lo Padoan, the Ital­ian finance min­is­ter who chaired a dis­cus­sion of Ukraine’s finan­cial sit­u­a­tion at a meet­ing of his EU coun­ter­parts on Tues­day, said EU resources should only be mobilised if Kiev made a “stronger effort” towards imple­ment­ing reforms.

At a meet­ing of his cab­i­net in Kiev, Ukraine’s prime min­is­ter, Arseniy Yat­se­niuk, insist­ed his gov­ern­ment was pre­pared to put in place unpop­u­lar mea­sures, includ­ing deep cuts in spend­ing, a crack­down on the mas­sive shad­ow econ­omy and moves to dereg­u­late the country’s uncom­pet­i­tive econ­o­my.

...

Under IMF rules, the fund can­not dis­trib­ute aid unless it has cer­tainty a donor coun­try can meet its financ­ing oblig­a­tions for the next 12 months, mean­ing the fund is unlike­ly to be able to send any addi­tional cash to Kiev until the $15bn gap is closed.

The scale of the prob­lem became clear­er last week after Ukraine’s cen­tral bank revealed its for­eign cur­rency reserves had dropped from $16.3bn in May to just $9bn in Novem­ber. The data also showed the val­ue of its gold reserves had dropped by near­ly half over the same peri­od. A per­son with direct knowl­edge of the cen­tral bank’s pol­icy said part of the drop had been due to large-scale gold sales.

...

Accord­ing to two peo­ple who attend­ed the EU meet­ing, con­cern over Ukrain­ian finances has become so severe that Wolf­gang Schäu­ble, the Ger­man finance min­is­ter, said he had called his Russ­ian coun­ter­part, Anton Silu­anov, to ask him to roll over a $3bn loan the Krem­lin made to Kiev last year.

George Osborne, the UK finance min­is­ter, expressed sur­prise at the request, atten­dees said, say­ing the EU was now ask­ing for help from Rus­sia at the same time it was sanc­tion­ing the Krem­lin for its actions in Ukraine.

 4. Poroshenko want­ed to appoint nation­als of the USA, Geor­gia and Lithua­nia to cab­i­net posi­tions and has wast­ed no time. Note that Aivaras Abro­mavi­cius, the new eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment and trade min­is­ter and the min­is­ter of health from Geor­gia, Alek­san­dre Kvi­tashvili, were edu­cat­ed in the Unit­ed States.

“For­eign-Born Min­is­ters in Ukraine’s New Cab­i­net”; BBC News; 12/5/2014. [29]

. . . . Aivaras Abro­mavi­cius, eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment and trade min­is­ter

Aivaras Abro­mavi­cius is a Lithuan­ian-born spe­cial­ist in emerg­ing mar­kets invest­ment. He grad­u­at­ed from Con­cor­dia Uni­ver­si­ty in Wis­con­sin, USA, with a BA in inter­na­tion­al busi­ness.

In 1996, Mr Abro­mavi­cius start­ed his career at Hans­a­bank, a major bank oper­at­ing in the Baltic states, which then became part of the Swed­bank group, where he was appoint­ed head of equi­ties in 1998. He then worked for three years as head of trad­ing at Brunswick Emerg­ing Mar­kets, a con­sul­tan­cy.

In 2002, he joined East Cap­i­tal, a glob­al invest­ment fund which spe­cial­izes in emerg­ing mar­kets. There, he was part of a port­fo­lio man­age­ment team for East­ern Europe.

Alek­san­dre Kvi­tashvili, health min­is­ter

Alek­san­dre Kvi­tashvili is an expe­ri­enced health offi­cial from Geor­gia. He stud­ied his­to­ry at Tbil­isi State Uni­ver­si­ty and in 1993 received a mas­ters degree in pub­lic man­age­ment from the Robert Wag­n­er Grad­u­ate School of Pub­lic Ser­vice in New York. After briefly work­ing in the US, he returned to Geor­gia. There, he worked for the UN Devel­op­ment Pro­gram and sev­er­al health­care-relat­ed orga­ni­za­tions.

In 2008-10, he was min­is­ter of labour, health and social pro­tec­tion under Pres­i­dent Saakashvili. In August 2010, Mr Kvi­tashvili resigned to become rec­tor of Tbil­isi State Uni­ver­si­ty, a post which he held until August 2013.

“I’ve been work­ing on reforms in Ukraine for the past three months, but my love for this coun­try has a much longer his­to­ry,” he said after his appoint­ment on 2 Decem­ber. . . .

5. Nazi mem­bers of the Azov Bat­tal­ion are being grant­ed cit­i­zen­ship by Poroshenko.

“Poroshenko Grants Belaruss­ian Neo-Nazi Ukrain­ian Cit­i­zen­ship” by Halya Coy­nash; Pol­i­tics and Human Rights; 12/8/2014. [32]

When peo­ple are risk­ing, often sac­ri­fic­ing, their lives for their coun­try, quib­bles about ques­tion­able neo-Nazi views may be out of place.  This is not the case where they are fight­ing for anoth­er coun­try, and Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko’s deci­sion to grant Sergei  Korotkykh, a fair­ly noto­ri­ous Russian/Belarusian neo-Nazi, Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship can­not fail to raise eye­brows.

The President’s web­site informs [68] that on Dec 5 Poroshenko hand­ed an inter­nal pass­port “to Belaru­sian Sergei Korotkykh who has been fight­ing in the Azov bat­tal­ion since it was cre­at­ed and is the com­man­der of recon­nais­sance. The Pres­i­dent thanked Sergei Korotkykh for his coura­geous, ded­i­cat­ed ser­vice”.  He also announced that the Defence Min­istry, togeth­er with the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, is prepar­ing a num­ber of sub­mis­sions to grant Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship to fight­ers “who self­less­ly defend the country’s sov­er­eign­ty and ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty”.

The courage and com­mit­ment of vol­un­teer fight­ers of the Azov bat­tal­ion have been demon­strat­ed in mil­i­tary action over recent months and in their defence of Mar­i­upol, and grat­i­tude and recog­ni­tion of their brav­ery are cer­tain­ly war­rant­ed.  The bat­tal­ion, how­ev­er, is known just as much because of the pro­nounced neo-Nazi views of its com­man­ders and at least some of its mem­bers.

Those views are shared by the for­eign nation­als who have joined Azov, includ­ing Sergei Korotkykh.

Accord­ing to an orig­i­nal report [69] on the UNIAN web­site, Korotkykh [known as ‘Malyu­ta’] is a Belaru­sian far-right rad­i­cal with a for­mi­da­ble neo-Nazi back­ground.  He was for­mer­ly on the polit­i­cal coun­cil of the Nation­al-Social­ist Soci­ety, many of whose mem­bers were lat­er con­vict­ed of racial­ly or polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed mur­ders. . . .

6. Com­man­ders of some of the “Pun­ish­er Bat­tal­ions” are among the Ukraini­ans lob­by­ing the Sen­ate for aid, includ­ing mil­i­tary aid. Some of them are also threat­en­ing to invade Russ­ian ter­ri­to­ry and sug­gest­ing that Amer­i­cans should be ready to die for Ukraine.

“Ukraine Pun­ish­er Com­man­ders in DC Now to Ask War­ren and McCain for More Guns” by George Elia­son; OpEdNews.com; 11/18/2014.  [33]

 With­in a few days the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee is going to meet with Ukraine’s best and bright­est. They are com­ing to ask for mon­ey, weapons, and start lob­by­ing for direct inter­ven­tion. The thought that the halls of the US Con­gress can be sul­lied with this kind of peo­ple tread­ing on its floors is beyond my imag­i­na­tion. You don’t need to care about Ukraine on this issue. Amer­i­can moral author­i­ty and the well being (elec­tabil­i­ty) of some good Con­gress­men that only hear the pro­pa­gan­da might be at stake. Please take the time to read through and if this is not accept­able tell your Sen­a­tor why.

A few days ago Vadim Troy­an, a Bat­tal­ion Azov deputy com­man­der was appoint­ed Kiev Oblast(Region) Police Chief. [70] Azov Bat­tal­ion is one of the pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions respon­si­ble for rape, kid­nap­ping, and mur­der of civil­ians across Don­bass. Vadim Troy­an has earned some of Ukraine’s high­est medals in the process.

At their base city of Mar­i­upol just dur­ing the month of Octo­ber 2014 the police depart­ment had to report over 200 rapes com­mit­ted by Azov and the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard in a pub­lic meet­ing held at the city police depart­ment. Accord­ing to local res­i­dents in Mar­i­upol which is a city of over 500,000; peo­ple are con­stant­ly going miss­ing.

Young girls are being dragged away in broad day­light and some are nev­er seen again. Azov bat­tal­ion is tak­ing men off the street that are nev­er returned. In the last week of Octo­ber twen­ty peo­ple were report­ed miss­ing.

Andrey Bilet­sky is also Arseni Yat­senyuk’s choice as a par­lia­men­tar­i­an in Ukraine’s Nation­al Rada (Sen­ate). In fact, all the sup­pos­ed­ly demo­c­ra­t­ic Euro-Maid­an lead­ers have cho­sen rad­i­cal neo nazi [71] rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Sen­ate seats. Bilet­sky has sworn he will dri­ve a vote on Ukraine’s nuclear sta­tus. If suc­cess­ful, Ukraine will strive to devel­op nuclear arms. Sergey Mel­nichuk (bat­tal­ion com­man­der Aydar) was Oleg Lyashko’s choice for a Rada seat.

In the inter­view with For­eign Pol­i­cy, the Azov com­man­der Bilet­sky (now Ukrain­ian Sen­a­tor) states:

“Unfor­tu­nate­ly, among the Ukrain­ian peo­ple today there are a lot of ‘Rus­sians’ (by their men­tal­i­ty, not their blood), ‘kikes,’ ‘Amer­i­cans,’ ‘Euro­peans’ (of the demo­c­ra­t­ic-lib­er­al Euro­pean Union), ‘Arabs,’ ‘Chi­nese’ and so forth, but there is not much specif­i­cal­ly Ukrainian...It’s unclear how much time and effort will be need­ed to erad­i­cate these dan­ger­ous virus­es from our peo­ple.”

The bat­tal­ion’s polit­i­cal plat­form sup­ports the sys­tem of gov­ern­ment devised by the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists of the 1930s and 1940s.

Real­ly look at the descrip­tion of a “Russ­ian” and see if there is any­thing famil­iar here. Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy is no dif­fer­ent to them than Don­bas peo­ple. This point needs to hit home in light of what they are doing.

Andrey Teteruk

Andrey Teteruk the Com­man­der of Myrotvorets (peace­mak­er) is also one of Yat­senyuks choic­es that is tak­ing a Sen­ate seat.

Andrei Teteruk who ran for law­mak­er on Peo­ple’s Front elec­tion list plans to attend par­lia­men­tary ple­nary meet­ings with weapons. [72] “I hope I will not use it,” Teteruk said.

Myrotvorets (peace­mak­er bat­tal­ion) is anoth­er pun­ish­er bat­tal­ion. In Teteruk’s own words Peace­mak­er” is a police bat­tal­ion. “Our task is to restore order in lib­er­at­ed set­tle­ments, clean from crim­i­nals, weapons. We did a good job in Dzerzhin­sk; per­formed police func­tions, inves­ti­gat­ed, who sup­port­ed sep­a­ratists in the city.”

“I’m against solv­ing prob­lems by using weapons. With all that I’m a mil­i­tary man, run a mil­i­tary unit, but I was in Koso­vo and saw the con­flicts that were solved with weapons, it led to the fact that entire vil­lages were cut out, from the old­est to the youngest. The war makes dirty both sides.”

Although hon­esty is a respectable qual­i­ty every per­son in Don­bass has been brand­ed a sep­a­ratist. Teteruk’s job as a pun­ish­er bat­tal­ion com­man­der is no dif­fer­ent than the last part of his quote- to destroy entire vil­lages from the old­est to the youngest.

Yuri Bereza

Yuri Bereza is the Com­man­der of Ihor Kolo­moisky’s Dneipr 1. You guessed it Yuri Bereza is also now a Sen­a­tor. What makes this clown a great pick for Maid­an lead­ers to get behind is:

Today, we are ready not just to defend [Ukraine], but to invade the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion [73], break into it with recon­nais­sance detach­ments and sab­o­tage groups,” said Bereza.

Although I did­n’t men­tion him by name I wrote about Bereza­’s most notable accom­plish­ment to date. In a hacked cor­re­spon­dence react­ing to the remains of 37 civil­ians found in Dnipropetro­vsk, Ukrain­ian Rada, Deputy Oleg Panke­vich ques­tions Igor Kolo­moisky’s san­i­ty. Kolo­moisky, one of the lead­ing Jew­ish lead­ers in Europe, has his own Dnipr Bat­tal­ion in the Don­bass war.

Accord­ing to Kolimoisky’s assis­tant Boris Fila­tov, they are just Neo-nazi ani­mals. Kolo­moisky’s Dnipr bat­tal­ion is replete with swastikas and Neo-nazi mer­ce­nar­ies from Ukraine [74] and oth­er coun­tries. Among his more notable accom­plish­ments, Kolimoisky fund­ed and planned [75] the Odessa Trade House Mas­sacre last spring. Kolo­moisky has a new Nazi prob­lem [76]. Of the 37 civil­ians that were found tor­tured, muti­lat­ed and killed in this instance, 19 were Jew­ish. Thats why Panke­vich called it a mini-holo­caust.

Yuri Bereza is a new Ukrain­ian Sen­a­tor who now has medals for tor­ture and mur­der of inno­cent peo­ple.

Semen Semenchenko

I have writ­ten exten­sive­ly about Sementchenko’s Don­bass Bat­tal­ion. Sementchenko is also a new Ukrain­ian Sen­a­tor. His bat­tal­ion accused him of run­ning when the fight­ing start­ed. When they were under attack he refused to deliv­er weapons his men did not have. He told his deputy com­man­der to leave because” they are just meat any­way.” Semenchenko’s bat­tal­ion has been respon­si­ble for a lot of hor­ror done to civil­ians in Don­bass. This man is an ani­mal.

UCCA Lob­by­ing

The ultra-nation­al­ist Ukrain­ian Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee of Amer­i­ca (UCCA) has been lob­by­ing the US Con­gress to give weapons to Ukraine. The men list­ed above are the rep­re­sen­ta­tives the Dias­po­ra com­mu­ni­ty chose as rep­re­sen­ta­tive of their ide­al of a Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist in the mold of Stepan Ban­dera.

The Unit­ed Nations (UN) recent­ly released a report on the human rights sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine, accus­ing the vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions of vio­lat­ing inter­na­tion­al human­i­tar­i­an laws [73].

The date they chose falls on Ukraine Day cel­e­bra­tions to insure they get the turnout need­ed to show the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee that these men deserve Amer­i­can dol­lars, weapons, and train­ing.

This excerpt is from nation­al­ist vol­un­teer effort:

“As I’m sure you know, these three Magi [77] are not only our love­ly com­man­ders of the vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions Don­bas, Myrotvorets, and Dnipro‑1, they are also new­ly-baked par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from Samopomich and Nar­o­d­ny Front. And they are in DC this week to meet with con­gress­men and mil­i­tary offi­cials and talk about how to defend Ukraine. At this very moment, Rus­sia is train­ing a 30 000 army in the occu­pied east­ern ter­ri­to­ries and stuff­ing the region with its weapons, and Semenchenko asks for OUR HELP!”

“Remem­ber, Ukraine is not only defend­ing itself, but also peace in Europe, and the alliance between the US and its biggest friend, Europe, as well as inter­na­tion­al law.”

Con­sid­er­ing that they want the US to attack Rus­sia, should we thank them now or lat­er?

What else does the Ukrain­ian emi­gres want from the US Con­gress?

For­mer Ukrain­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Voldymyr Ogrizko on Shus­ter Live (largest Ukrain­ian talk show)“ ‘Amer­i­cans must be will­ing to die for Ukraine, because the for­mer Sovi­et repub­lic, fight­ing with Rus­sia, defends the val­ues of the West­ern world. And they are will­ing to die in Iraq or Afghanistan? If they are real­ly talk­ing about their val­ues, they must be will­ing to die in Ukraine. Today we pro­tect their valu­ables. This and our val­ues. We pro­tect their lives and their blood ‚( He is talk­ing about Amer­i­ca )’ — said Ogryzko. He expressed the hope that the results of the elec­tions in the US will bring Ukraine sup­port.”

What Else Should the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee Know?

Recent­ly on the Ukrain­ian inves­tiga­tive pro­gram Groshi. which I was shocked to learn was still on the air after the coup did a pro­gram on pros­ti­tu­tion in the Ukrain­ian army.

At first blush, I would agree that does­n’t sound like much except the com­man­ders are forc­ing con­scripts to act as pros­ti­tutes. The com­man­ders are col­lect­ing 600 hryv­na per out­ing and sup­pos­ed­ly giv­ing the con­script the equiv­a­lent of $4. Bear in mind that the con­script can­not refuse the order.

The con­script age in Ukraine is now 16 years old. Oth­er sol­diers or offi­cers have their choice between a boy or a girl, man or woman. How is this not sanc­tioned rape with­in the armed forces? Will the US Con­gress sup­port this? . . . .

7. An advis­er to the head of the Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice has admit­ted that there are no Russ­ian units in Ukraine.

“Ukraine 2nd Day of Heavy Fight­ing | Kiev Shells Sports Facil­i­ty Killing Chil­dren and ADMITS NO RUSSIAN TROOPS PRESENT I” by George Elia­son; OpEdNews.com; 11/7/2014. [35]

In an inter­view with Gromadske.TV, Markian Lubkivsky, the advis­er to the head of the SBU (the Ukrain­ian ver­sion of the CIA) stat­ed there are NO RUSSIAN TROOPS ON UKRANIAN SOIL! This unex­pect­ed announce­ment came as he fum­bled with reporters’ ques­tions on the sub­ject. Accord­ing to his state­ment, he said the SBU count­ed about 5000 Russ­ian nation­als, but not Russ­ian sol­diers in Donet­sk and Lugan­sk Peo­ples Republics.

He fur­ther clar­i­fied that there were no orga­nized Russ­ian units in Don­bass. The SBU thinks there are rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Russ­ian FSB (Russ­ian CIA) and men­tors who pro­vide train­ing and orga­ni­za­tion that grew the Novorus­sia army quick­ly in its fight with Ukraine.

He went on fur­ther to state that the SBU esti­mates the armies of Donet­sk and Lugan­sk Peo­ples Republics are about 20–25 thou­sand strong.

This con­fes­sion will sting the Kiev gov­ern­ment, that has repeat­ed­ly told its allies that Rus­sia is attack­ing. Dai­ly on Ukrain­ian news, offi­cial sto­ries declare that Ukrain­ian secu­ri­ty forces are fight­ing Russ­ian armed forces. As part of the pro­pa­gan­da, Ukraini­ans are told that the Ukrain­ian army is defeat­ing com­pa­nies of Russ­ian para­troop­ers, Spetz Natz Group Alpha (the Russ­ian ver­sion of Navy SEALS), and all sorts of spe­cial forces. If you were an aver­age Ukrain­ian what would you think?

The reporter doing the inter­view, ultra-nation­al­ist Natasha Stanko may not sur­vive the line of ques­tion­ing she start­ed. Ear­li­er I report­ed on her tweet cel­e­brat­ing the pun­ish­er bat­tal­ion Aydar mur­der­ing Ukrain­ian troops that refused to kill civil­ians. She thought that was fun­ny. . . .

8. As though the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine wasn’t Orwellian enough, Poroshenko has cre­at­ed a fed­er­al min­istry crit­ics are com­par­ing to “The Min­istry of Truth” from George Orwell’s 1984.  Note that the min­istry will be head­ed by Yuriy Stets, the for­mer PR per­son for the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard, to which the pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions belong! Stets is a for­mer employ­ee of a TV sta­tion owned by Poroshenko.

“Ukraine Just Cre­ated Its Own Ver­sion of Orwell’s ‘Min­istry of Truth’” by Christo­pher Miller; Mash­able;  [36]12/2/2014. [36]

The Ukraine gov­ern­ment has estab­lished a depart­ment that crit­ics are call­ing the “Min­istry of Truth” — bor­row­ing a term from George Orwell’s clas­sic dystopi­an nov­el 1984.

Offi­cially called the Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion Pol­icy, the new office will be head­ed by Yuriy Stets, head of the Infor­ma­tion Secu­rity Depart­ment of the Nation­al Guard of Ukraine. A close ally to Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko, Stets was for­merly chief pro­ducer of the TV chan­nel that Poroshenko sill owns.

While its main objec­tive appears to be con­fronting Russia’s for­mi­da­ble pro­pa­ganda machine, the Min­istry is like­ly to also restrict free speech and inhib­it jour­nal­ists’ work — par­tic­u­larly in war-torn east­ern Ukraine, accord­ing to observers.

...

At a demon­stra­tion out­side par­lia­ment, Ukrain­ian jour­nal­ists decried the new min­istry, which deputies approved in the Verk­hovna Rada late on Tues­day, along with the rest of the country’s Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters.

About 40 jour­nal­ists and activists from Ukrain­ian watch­dog groups Ches­no (Hon­est) and Stop Cen­sor­ship! held posters that read “Hel­lo, Big Broth­er.” They urged law­mak­ers enter­ing the par­lia­ment ahead of Tuesday’s ses­sion to vote against appoint­ing Stets as its head.

The cre­ation of the min­istry comes on the heels of crit­i­cal reports from jour­nal­ists and rights groups about its use of con­tro­ver­sial weapons in east­ern Ukraine, as well as pos­si­ble war crimes com­mit­ted by its armed forces.

Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment is clear­ly frus­trated with by its lack of suc­cess in dis­sem­i­nat­ing its mes­sages. “You must under­stand, we are being killed by [Russ­ian] guns as well as their pro­pa­ganda,” a top secu­rity offi­cial told Mash­able when explain­ing why he sup­ported the cre­ation of the min­istry.

A report released last month by The Inter­preter [78]web­site describes just how Russ­ian pro­pa­ganda works, and how effec­tively it is being used as a weapon of the Krem­lin. The report out­lines a “hybrid war” that com­bines dis­in­for­ma­tion “to sow con­fu­sion via con­spir­acy the­o­ries and pro­lif­er­ate false­hoods” with “covert and small-scale mil­i­tary oper­a­tions.”

...

Still, there are some in the gov­ern­ment who do not endorse the min­istry. A senior offi­cial in the Pres­i­den­tial Admin­is­tra­tion, who spoke anony­mously because he feared reper­cus­sions from offi­cials for talk­ing to a jour­nal­ist, said he was “very con­cerned” about the min­istry and how it would be used.

“Hon­estly, I’m not sure such a min­istry is need­ed,” the offi­cial said, adding that oth­ers inside the admin­is­tra­tion have also ques­tioned the move.

“The way to fight Russ­ian pro­pa­ganda is with hon­estly and trans­parency, not try­ing to beat Rus­sia at its own game.”

The Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion Pol­icy was pushed through with lit­tle notice and even less debate on the par­lia­ment floor. That could be because the pres­i­dent him­self pushed the con­cept on mem­bers of his par­ty, the largest fac­tion in par­lia­ment, and has great sway over the rul­ing coali­tion.

Deputies whom Mash­able spoke with ahead of the par­lia­ment ses­sion on Tues­day said Poroshenko per­son­ally urged them to sup­port the min­istry in a tense last-minute meet­ing called late Mon­day night.

...

For­mer inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist turned law­maker Ser­hiy Leshchenko, who was elect­ed in last month’s vote on the tick­et of the president’s par­ty, was present at the meet­ing. He says Poroshenko “was very seri­ous” about con­firm­ing Stets the fol­low­ing day in par­lia­ment.

...

Oksana Roma­niuk, direc­tor of local media watch­dog Insti­tute of Mass Infor­ma­tion and Ukraine rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Reporters With­out Bor­ders, toldMash­able that “the gov­ern­ment wants to con­trol the media’s mes­sages first, and sec­ond, they want to con­trol access to the mes­sages.”

Details on how the min­istry will oper­ate are murky. No doc­u­ments were made avail­able to the pub­lic or deputies, and Stets did not reply to Mashable’s requests for com­ment. But Roma­niuk fears the gov­ern­ment has giv­en itself “carte blanche.”

Reporters With­out Bor­ders [79]said it “firm­ly oppos­es” the infor­ma­tion min­istry. “Putting the gov­ern­ment in charge of ‘infor­ma­tion pol­icy’ would be major ret­ro­grade step that would open the way to grave excess­es,” said Christophe Deloire, the watch­dog organization’s sec­re­tary-gen­er­al.

...

“Dear team Poroshenko, the pur­suit of absolute pow­er in this coun­try means a final career,” Tatyana Niko­laenko, chief edi­tor at Ukraine’s Insid­er mag­a­zine, wrote on Face­book [80]. “If you cre­ate this ‘Min­istry of Truth’ the president’s rat­ing will col­lapse as quick­ly as it rose in the win­ter of this year.”

She added: “You can not win the infor­ma­tion war [against Rus­sia] with it, because with the cre­ation of the Min­istry you’ll give Russ­ian pro­pa­ganda end­less ref­er­ences to [Nazi Min­is­ter of Pro­pa­ganda Joseph] Goebbels and Orwell.”

...

But Kiev sees the cre­ation of the min­istry as a nec­es­sary move to fight Russia’s inces­sant pro­pa­ganda, which has been par­tic­u­larly suc­cess­ful over the course of the ongo­ing cri­sis.

The con­cept was first float­ed on Sun­day, when Inte­rior Min­istry advi­sor Anton Herashchenko men­tioned it in a post [81]on Face­book. In it, he men­tioned the need to counter the Russ­ian mes­sage.

“There is an idea to cre­ate the struc­ture of the Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion Pol­icy, whose main task is the pro­tec­tion of Ukraine’s infor­ma­tion space of the Russ­ian pro­pa­ganda and counter-pro­pa­gan­da in Rus­sia, in the tem­porar­ily occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries of Crimea and [east­ern Ukraine]. This issue is long over­due and I would even say too late,” Herashchenko wrote.

Stets relayed his thoughts on the new min­istry in his own Face­book post [82]on Mon­day.

“I see it this way: dif­fer­ent states with dif­fer­ent his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural expe­ri­ences in times of cri­sis came to need to cre­ate a body of exec­u­tive pow­er that would con­trol and man­age the infor­ma­tion secu­rity of the coun­try,” Stets wrote.

Accord­ing to Stets, none of the cur­rent state struc­tures could effi­ciently han­dle those tasks.

“The infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions space remain unco­or­di­nated now, full of con­tra­dic­tions and influ­ence of for­eign agents, and under con­di­tions of geopo­lit­i­cal wars becomes a weak part of the coun­try, a sub­ject of ene­my attacks,” he added.

 9. The day this pro­gram was record­ed, Con­gress reward­ed the UCCA and their pun­ish­er bat­tal­ion lob­by­ists by giv­ing the green light to lethal mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine. Note that two mem­bers of the Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion were killed the very day the bill passed Con­gress.

“Ukraine Cheers US Vote for Mil­i­tary Aid, Rus­sia Out­raged” by Eric Ran­dolph [Agence France Presse]; Yahoo News; 12/12/2014. [34]

Ukraine on Fri­day wel­comed a US bill that would allow Wash­ing­ton to pro­vide lethal mil­i­tary assis­tance to the embat­tled coun­try, but Rus­sia expressed out­rage at the “open­ly

The bill — passed late on Thurs­day and due to get final approval in Con­gress on Fri­day before being sent to US Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma — opens the way for up to $350 mil­lion (280 mil­lion euros’) worth of US mil­i­tary hard­ware to be sent to Ukraine, which has been fight­ing an eight-month war against Krem­lin-backed sep­a­ratists in its east.

It also threat­ens fresh sanc­tions against Rus­sia, whose econ­o­my is crum­bling under pre­vi­ous rounds of West­ern sanc­tions and a col­lapse in oil prices.

Rus­si­a’s for­eign min­istry said the new US leg­is­la­tion put a “pow­er­ful bomb” under US-Rus­sia bilat­er­al ties.

“The open­ly con­fronta­tion­al nature of the Ukraine Free­dom Sup­port Act approved by both hous­es of the US Con­gress with­out debate and prop­er vot­ing can­not cause any­thing but deep regret,” said min­istry spokesman Alexan­der Luka­she­vich.

“US leg­is­la­tors are fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of the Barack Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion by show­ing great zeal in destroy­ing the frame­work of coop­er­a­tion,” he said.

Kiev law­mak­ers, though, hailed the US move as a “his­toric deci­sion”. They have long been press­ing the West to pro­vide mil­i­tary sup­port to their belea­guered army, but have so far received only non-lethal equip­ment. . . .

. . . . US law­mak­ers, how­ev­er, appeared deter­mined to force Oba­ma’s hand against Rus­sia. Sen­a­tors added a clause in the bill that would grant “major non-NATO ally” sta­tus to Ukraine, along with pro-West­ern Geor­gia and Moldo­va.

Rus­sia is con­cerned at what it sees as NATO’s creep­ing umbrel­la along its west­ern bor­ders.

Ukraine and the West accuse Rus­sia of send­ing reg­u­lar troops to back sep­a­ratists in east­ern Ukraine in a con­flict that has claimed more than 4,300 lives since it broke out in April. . . .

. . . . Under­lin­ing his [Poroshenko’s] con­cerns, there were reports on Fri­day that two vol­un­teer fight­ers with the pro-Kiev “Azov reg­i­ment” and two rebels were killed in Pavlop­il, 70 kilo­me­tres (45 miles) south of the main rebel strong­hold of Donet­sk.

“They were ambushed. Their car was blown up by a land­mine,” Azov spokesman Olek­san­dr Alfer­ov told AFP. He added that the two rebels were killed in an ensu­ing fire­fight. . . .