EXCLUSIVE Tell-All from behind Ukrainian Lines – Poroshenko’s Blood Money

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Translated by Jafe Arnold (J. Arnoldski) –  January 11, 2017 – Fort Russ Exclusive – 


Shared with The Greanville Post by fraternal links between Fort Russ and TGP.
ABOVE IMAGE: UKRAINE’S WEST APPOINTED LEADER, POROSHENKO

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The following exclusive material was sent to Fort Russ by a self-declared representative of the anti-fascist movement in Ukraine from Kharkov, whom for safety reasons we have agreed to call “Andrey Anon.” Andrey has been living and working behind Ukrainian lines since the war began and has come into close contact with numerous personalities ranging from Poroshenko’s former business associates to Ukrainian officers and conscripts. In this astonishing tell-all, Andrey shares his knowledge of the dirty underbelly of the Poroshenko regime, the seething sentiments of conscript soldiers and civilians in occupied Donbass, and his impressions of the future of the Kiev junta and the war. Fort Russ is gratified to have been entrusted with this material which the author wishes to see spread as far and wide as possible to reveal the truth of the horrific corruption and war that have gripped his country since February 2014. Andrey and Fort Russ have left out and changed certain names to protect sources and the people involved. – J. Arnoldski 


PART ONE
Petro Poroshensko’s Blood Money

I am a resident of Kharkov, the first capital of Soviet Ukraine. Although this city has lost the status of the political capital of Ukraine, it is still considered the scientific and industrial capital of the country. Kharkov was founded and settled in the 17th century and belonged to the Russian (Muscovite) Tsars. It was the administrative center of the vast region of Slobozhanshchina (“Sloboda Ukraine”) where the Cossacks from Ukraine fled after being defeated by Polish troops during the Khmelnitsky uprising (the rebellion of Ukrainian cossacks and peasants in the mid-17th century). The descendants of the Cossack families of Sloboda Ukraine served the Russian Tsars, while the Cossack leaders became part of the Russian nobility. This brief historical digression will allow the reader to understand that Kharkov, by virtue of its origin and identity, is a Russian city, not a Ukrainian one. 

S. Kovpak

The overwhelming majority of Kharkovians, even those with Ukrainian surnames, feel themselves to be Russians. The mentality of the people of Kharkov is much closer to that of the neighboring Russian regional centers of Belgorod and Kursk than to that of the cities of Western or even Central Ukraine. Bandera and Skhukhevych, the leaders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army which is “famous” for its genocide against the Polish population of Volhynia, are national heroes for Galicia and Volhynia. But Kharkov’s heroes are the Russian Tsars, Empress Catherine the Great, and the legendary partisan of the Second World War who fought against the Hitlerite fascists and their Ukrainian henchmen, Sydir Kovpak. 

February 21st, 2014 was a black day for Kharkov and all of Ukraine. On this day, the coup d’etat took place which was backed from the beginning by the governments of Germany, France, Poland, as well as the Democratic (party) administration of the US. The current Ukrainian authorities are none other than those conspirators and criminals who overthrew the country’s legal president, Viktor Yanukovych. It is a fact that “President” Poroshenko was one of the founders of the Party of Regions of which Yanukovych was the leader. Poroshenko was also a minister in Yanukovych’s government. Immediately after the coup d’etat, the Party of Regions was declared illegal and disbanded. When has Poroshenko ever been honest? When he created a party that was then declared criminal? When he served Yanukovych? Or when he [helped to] finance the coup d’etat in Ukraine?

I’ve had the opportunity to talk with people who were once Petro Poroshenko’s business associates. According to them, he is a genuinely intelligent and experienced businessman who indeed established a successful business. His business acumen and capabilities are undoubtable. But these same people also asserted that Poroshenko’s main, distinguishing feature is his unbridled love for money. Poroshenko can make money literally out of thin air. 


For almost three years already, dissidents in Ukraine have been subjected to political terror. Any sympathies for Russia can earn one a prison sentence or physical violence. Even those people who dared to bring flowers to the Russian embassy as a sign of condolence over the death of the Tu-154 passengers and crew were beaten. In Washington and New York, people expressed their condolences to Russia and sang the Russian anthem. But in Ukraine and in my native Kharkov, this is unimaginable. This would have ended in the death of brave people.


Now a number of Western publications are publishing revelatory exposés on corruption under Poroshenko. Poroshenko’s former business partner and deputy of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament), Alexander Onishchenko, has fled to England and given a number of interviews on the illegal financial and political schemes of President Poroshenko. One of Onishchenko’s revelations is that Poroshenko has extracted major financial benefits from secretly trading with the “separatists” of Donbass. In Ukraine, it is a kind of open secret that “gray” trading schemes exist between Ukraine and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. This trade is covered by the Ukrainian Army (UAF) or the Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitary battalions. However, they are just the cogs in someone else’s game. The main customer and patron of this shadow trade are the Ukrainian authorities and specifically President Poroshenko.

When Time magazine published Onishchenko’s revelations, including his story of the shadow trade with “separatists” from which Poroshenko extracts profits, I remembered what my friends, who were in contact with Poroshenko the businessmen long before he became president and a simple politician, said: for Poroshenko, the main and only goal is money. 

For almost three years already, dissidents in Ukraine have been subjected to political terror. Any sympathies for Russia can earn one a prison sentence or physical violence. Even those people who dared to bring flowers to the Russian embassy as a sign of condolence over the death of the Tu-154 passengers and crew were beaten. In Washington and New York, people expressed their condolences to Russia and sang the Russian anthem. But in Ukraine and in my native Kharkov, this is unimaginable. This would have ended in the death of brave people.


Ukrainian army supposedly capturing two Russian “terrorists”. Poroshensko’s regime is clearly a fascist structure fueled by propaganda, fears, and grotesque chauvinism.

President Poroshenko is a Ukrainian patriot in words. But he does not like, in fact rather hates and despises Ukrainians. To start with, he is not a Ukrainian by origin, but a Jew. During the Maidan, a video spread across Ukraine which captured Poroshenko, the main sponsor of the Maidan among the Ukrainian oligarchs, insulting his associates on religious grounds. I think that’s when we saw the real face of the future president of Ukraine.

Poroshenko loves to deliver speeches dressed up in a vyshivanka, the traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt. Yet he still does business with Russia which he constantly accuses of occupying Ukraine. It’s hardly possible that Poroshenko actually believes in what he says but, in the least, this doesn’t hinder him from owning his own factory in the Russian town of Lipetsk and paying taxes into the budget of the “aggressor country.” I’ve already mentioned Poroshenko’s business with the “separatists” of Donbass. 

Ukraine followed the elections in the US for all of 2016. The Ukrainian authorities’ sympathy was entirely on the side of Hillary Clinton. Poroshenko even tried to contribute to help her win. For example, he reported on the supposed corrupt ties between people from Donald Trump’s entourage and the electoral headquarters of Viktor Yanukovych. Yet Poroshenko is closely linked to the Obama Democratic Administration and Vice President Joe Biden personally. The American Vice President’s son, Hunter Biden, and the ex-president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, were put on the board of directors of the Ukrainian oil and gas company Burisma Holdings which was preparing to begin oil extraction in the Slavyansk region where fierce fighting subsequently broke out with the Donbass “separatists.” We’ve even heard rumors that the war was needed by Ukrainian and American oligarchs to clear out the population of Slavyansk to commence oil operations.

Biden: Imperialist shill on steroids. This phony, like his boss, has fooled multitudes, but that is what makes the Democrats so dangerous—they are excellent at disguising their true nature—and crimes.

Another member of the board of directors was Devon Archer, an adviser to the presidential campaign of current US Secretary of State John Kerry. I’m no specialist on the intricacies of American politicians and this information can be found on the internet by looking up Burisma Holdings, but it turns out that Poroshenko is just as much a member of the Democratic administration of the US as Joe Biden, albeit one standing immeasurably lower in rank. Another senior Ukrainian politician and Kharkov-native, Arsen Avakov, even went so far as to insult Donald Trump, who he called a politician only in quotes. He also wrote open threats against Trump on his Facebook account.

It is difficult to convey in words the panic which has gripped Ukrainian politicians since the news of Donald Trump’s victory. The Ukrainian elite is scared to death – probably not without reason, since Poroshenko, Biden, and other members of this team’s corruption schemes could be exposed. Arsen Avakov, according to rumors, has been released from his post of minister of foreign affairs and has fled Ukraine.

Just before the New Year, I had the chance to meet with a former classmate in Kharkov. For safety reasons, I will leave out the exact name and rank of this friend of mine and omit all the details that could reveal his identity. My friend – let’s call him Evgeny – finished military school back in the 1990’s and started serving as an officer in the Ukrainian Army. He had just recently returned from the ATO on leave when we met almost by accident. Initially, he didn’t want to talk about his service, but then the ice of mutual distrust melted away and he told me many details about his service and the situation in the Ukrainian Army.

Evgeny is a high-ranking officer in the UAF who said that he feels less danger in the ATO from the “separatists” (the DPR and LPR militias) than he does from behind him. Behind him are paramilitary units of Ukrainian neo-Nazis that are called “volunteer battalions” in Ukraine. Besides idealistic neo-Nazis, their ranks include a large number of criminals who were let out of jail to fight in Donbass. In Evgeny’s words, the slightest breach of orders on his part could lead to being shot in the back. He openly admitted that he has to fear “volunteers” more than the “separatists.”

Contrary to Poroshenko’s assurances, Evgeny told of how untrained youth are sent to the ATO. Contrary to the reports of the Ukrainian command that only military-trained recruits are sent to the combat zone, the Ukrainian Army often sends 18-year-old conscripts who have never held a weapon in their hands before. When the militia’s artillery opens fire, these untried soldiers, almost children, go into real panic. Heavy losses among UAF soldiers are due to the lack of basic military training, as kids are sent immediately from conscription points to the frontline. 

I openly told the UAF officer my opinion that the war in Donbass is profitable only for a bunch of oligarchs in Kiev among whom there are almost no Russians or Ukrainians. They need the war in Donbass to further enrich themselves with military sales and to divert public attention from Poroshenko’s failed economic policies. Evgeny agreed with my evaluation of the Poroshenko regime and admitted that the entire army literally hates Petro. He told me a lot about the colossal theft of weapons and equipment, and the disgusting state of the supplies of the army fighting in Donbass. If he didn’t have officer’s duty, Evgeny would have long ago left service.

According to Evgeny, only the poor who are unable to pay off military service end up in the ranks of the Ukrainian Army. Those who have money bribe military commissars responsible for conscription or go to other countries, including Russia. The most profitable business in Ukraine revolves around the army: bribing commissars, stealing money, weapons, and equipment, and robbing soldiers in the ATO zone.

Evgeny agreed with me that low discipline reigns in the Ukrainian Army’s ranks. Surprisingly enough, the officer agreed that the Donbass army is better than the UAF in terms of discipline. He only added that this low discipline is a man-made process, that it is deliberately made and kept this way by the military and political leadership of Ukraine. The ruling regime in Kiev, in his words, fears the emergence of a strong, combat-efficient army and the emergence of a popular military leader who could turn troops on Kiev. As follows, the Ukrainian leadership is not interested in victory over the DPR and LPR. The Poroshenko regime’s goal is directing the attention of the army and volunteer units from domestic political problems to an external enemy, be it the Donbass republics or Russia. Poroshenko profits if the war continues as long as possible, as long as the army and volunteer battalions can’t overthrow the ruling regime. As long as they are busy with the war in Donbass, Poroshenko’s regime feels relatively safe.

I’d already heard this opinion earlier from the tongues of other Ukrainian soldiers of lower rank. Yet Evgeny is a rarity among Ukrainian officers, a kind of intellectual and morally responsible person. In December, I closely talked with a different kind of Ukrainian troops. Even though their intelligence and rank were very different from Evgeny’s, their thinking was about the same.

Evgeny’s general attitude is deeply pessimistic. He didn’t say this aloud, but I had the impression that Evgeny doesn’t believe in victory. And this view is widespread among officers in the ATO zone….


PART TWO
Kiev’s Wasted Cannon Fodder

January 11, 2017 – Fort Russ Exclusive – 

Translated by Jafe Arnold (J. Arnoldski) – 

Ukrainian army officer training recruits.

In December 2016, by way of work affairs, for a lengthy period of time I was in close contact with a large group of servicemen, sergeants and soldiers, from the Anti-Terrorist Operation Zone, as the punitive operation against the Donbass republics is called in Ukraine.

Since Kharkov is a border town, I’ve also had many opportunities to observe the lives of Ukrainian soldiers up close. What I heard and saw in December only enriched my familiarity. I’ve repeatedly visited my relatives who live in Ukrainian Donbass immediately adjacent to the ATO zone. There I managed to observe the lives of UAF soldiers, officers and National Guardsmen in units that are deployed literally an arm’s length from the city.

The majority of Kharkovians’ attitude towards Ukrainian troops is sharply negative. What I saw in Donbass is something very particular. In Kharkov, they are treated like people serving a criminal regime. There is also some kind of pity or sympathy in this attitude. Ukrainian troops are literally hated in Donbass. Even in towns where people can’t find work, only very few people sign up for the Ukrainian Army as volunteers, literally only a handful.

Ukrainian troops’ behavior in the ATO zone is distinguished by an extremely low level of discipline. Drunkenness prevails among them. Near units of the UAF and National Guard (militia fighters who were joined by many Ukrainian neo-Nazis and Maidan volunteers after the coup) are round-the-clock alcohol sale points, where they even sell samogon (the vodka equivalent of moonshine). Many times I observed cases in which Ukrainian troops bought bottles of samogon and drunk it right on the spot while they held loaded military weapons in their hands. Some soldiers were lying unconscious nearby. I don’t know just how many cases of murder or theft of weapons have happened to drunk Ukrainian soldiers, but I think these and other cases have indeed taken place. In the least, buying a Kalashnikov or another weapon from Ukrainian units on the black market is no difficulty at all and is cheap even by Ukrainian money standards. It’s no surprise that Ukraine has become Europe’s main source of weapons deliveries onto black markets. 

This behavior differs from that of the militiamen whom my family living in one of the cities of Ukrainian Donbass told me about. In the spring and early summer of 2014, the militia controlled the northern part of the Donestk and Lugansk regions. In literally a few days, the Donbass militias managed to completely eradicate the drug trade that was virtually legally managed by the city and police officials. They also liquidated 24/7 liquor stores. Despite the complete absence of a police force in the city, there was strict order, even on the roads. The number of accidents was minimal despite the frontal location of the city. 

But after the Ukrainians took control of the city, everything changed instantly. Drug and alcohol trafficking was restored and in other Donbass cities that came under Ukrainian control, road accidents became more frequent. The main violators of traffic laws are UAF servicemen and the National Guard. The most egregious case occurred in the town of Konstantinovka, where in March 2015 an armored transport vehicle of the National Guard driven by drunk soldiers drove on the sidewalk at high speed and killed a child (a young girl who was 7 or 8) and hit a woman pushing a baby in a stroller. As a result, the girl was killed and the mother and infant ended up in the hospital with sever trauma. This sparked unrest and a rebellion in the city which was quickly put down by Ukrainian troops. The protesters went after soldiers with their bare hands. Several dozen protesters were seized and thrown in jail under the terrorism article. It’s hardly likely that Western media covered this. Cases of fast drunk driving on city streets happen regularly in all the cities of Ukrainian Donbass. What’s shocking is that not only has President Poroshenko never punished the guilty troops (usually contract soldiers), but the soldier who drove the armored vehicle in Konstantinovka was even awarded a medal for service by Poroshenko!

Ukrainian troops behave like an army of occupants, and the population looks at them like at hated invaders. Racing armored vehicles while drunk also speaks to the extremely low level of discipline among Ukrainian troops. Officers don’t control their soldiers’ behavior, which lowers the combat effectiveness of the UAF and National Guard. These findings of mine have been confirmed by my personal contact with officers and soldiers in the ATO.

In December, I closely interacted with soldiers and sergeants of the UAF and National Guard who were on leave in one of the resorts in Ukraine where I was on business. I’ll omit all the details that could shed light on the place or circumstances of this meeting so as not to bring trouble to my confidents.

So, after having spent some time at the resort, there arrived a group of several dozen ATO servicemen on leave. Officers vacation in other, more expensive resorts in Western Ukraine. These new friends of mine included mostly contract soldiers. This quiet resort was suddenly gripped by general drunkenness in which all the soldiers took part without exception. I’ve never seen such drunkery in my life. Unconscious, almost dead bodies of Ukrainian soldiers and sergeants littered the grounds of the resort and mainly the hallways. Fortunately, lack of money sometimes interrupted this collective drunkenness, otherwise they could have died from such huge amounts of alcohol intake. Between the booze, the soldiers complained in unison of the abominable living conditions in the ATO zone, the low wages, and poor security. According to them, they were promised a salary of 1,000 hryvnia a day (at that moment one Russian ruble equalled three hryvnia, today a little more than 2, while one dollar costs 28.5 hryvnia). In reality, the soldiers didn’t get any money. Their commanders used every opportunity to fine them. The soldiers admitted that the policy of fines came straight from Kiev, the aim of which was saving money by not paying out salaries to ATO soldiers. 

The tourists and staff (almost exclusively female) were mortally scared by the Ukrainian soldiers’ behavior. Several women from Western Ukraine were there who were simply shocked by the state of the Ukrainian Army since they had really believed that the army was fighting against separatists and saving Ukraine from Russian invaders. I’ll admit that I couldn’t deny myself the pleasure of sarcastically asking how many hours such an army would hold out if Russia had really invaded Ukraine. I didn’t get an answer. 

These women from Western Ukraine were shocked to find out that the packages their children – ATO soldiers – sent them were plain loot. The drunken soldiers reluctantly confirmed that they robbed the civilians of Donbass with pleasure. However, they justified this with saying that these civilians support “separatists” while they themselves are fighting “for an idea.”

I don’t know what attitude civilians in this region so distant from the fighting in Donbass had towards ATO soldiers, but after this contingent left, locals expressed sympathy for the residents of Donbass and spoke of the ATO fighters very unkindly, albeit cautiously.

The most striking observation that I made while talking with this contingent was that all the soldiers on leave, without exception, openly and unashamedly expressed their hatred for Poroshenko. They were obviously not afraid of the repression or espionage that the SBU carries out among troops. I had the impression that the level of ATO soldiers’ hatred for their commander-in-chief, Poroshenko, is no less than the people of Donbass’ hatred for Poroshenko. While talking with the UAF soldiers and sergeants and National Guardsmen, I even heard murmurs that they would organize a new Maidan later. Supposedly, they would take their weapons to Kiev and overthrow Poroshenko. This is how openly soldiers of the Ukrainian Army talk of readiness for a military coup and overthrowing their army’s commander-in-chief!

I especially remember one phrase uttered by a soldier who stood out among his comrades as the most sober. He said that the idea of a “march on Kiev” was doomed to fail since “all the new vehicles are arrayed near Kiev, while they send us junk.” According to him, Poroshenko expects troops from Donbass to march on Kiev, so he deliberately sends good-for-nothing equipment to the ATO zone. The army constantly complains of this. Now it’s clear why the Ukrainian authorities behave this way – all the new vehicles that Ukrainians see at military parades are concentrated near Kiev and are designed to defend the Poroshenko regime from its own army!

After hearing this firsthand, the strange UAF offensive near Svetlodar on December 18th-19th, when the Ukrainian Army lost more than a 100 men, made perfect sense to me. Most likely, the goal was eliminating the largest number of Ukrainian troops and nationalists from the volunteer battalions possible at the hands of the militia, thereby ridding the chance of a third Maidan by any trained soldiers. 

In Kharkov, and probably throughout Ukraine, there have long been whispers – and sometimes people speak almost openly – about this preparation of a new Maidan. But hearing this so openly from UAF soldiers shocked me.

They say that a headquarters for fighting against a third Maidan has been established which is headed by the secretary of the National Defense Council, Alexander Turchynov, who after the February 21st coup became the acting president of Ukraine. Turchynov was the one to start the war in Donbass and almost started a war with Russia in Crimea. The headquarters supposedly established are seriously preparing for the dispersal of protests and the introduction of martial law in Kiev if the situation reaches the stage of forceful confrontation.

The police have been ordered not to allow any transport with protesters into the capital, and Kiev authorities and security agencies have been ordered to stop equipment and tents from being set up on the Maidan by any means. It’s even been proposed to organize brigades out of athletes and private security guards that would aid security agencies disperse protests. They’ve also been instructed to work through plans on shutting off television broadcasting and blocking internet sites. 

I’ll admit that after all that I’ve seen, I have little faith in a successful military march on Kiev. The eternally drunk and hungry, unfortunate soldiers of the UAF are far from suitable for a bloody overthrow of President Poroshenko. Unlike Yanukovych, Poroshenko is not afraid to give orders to shoot protesters, even those whom he just yesterday called heroes of Ukraine.

I’ve spent a long time impressed by what I saw and heard from the UAF soldiers on leave. I’ve come to the conclusion that the total drunkenness of soldiers and sergeants of the Ukrainian Army is also part of Poroshenko’s plan. A sober and disciplined army capable of victory is fatal for him. If they win against the republics of Donbass, they would turn their weapons on Kiev and overthrow Poroshenko himself.

From the very beginning, Ukraine’s army was not created for victory, but for mutual destruction and eradicating everyone dissatisfied with Poroshenko’s regime in both Ukraine and Donbass.

This is why the war in Donbass will be dragged on as long as possible. 

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NOTE: ALL IMAGE CAPTIONS, PULL QUOTES AND COMMENTARY BY THE EDITORS, NOT THE AUTHORS • PLEASE COMMENT AND DEBATE DIRECTLY ON OUR FACEBOOK GROUP. JUST CLICK HERE.
 Jafe Arnoldski is a senior editor and information activist with Fort Russ, a fraternal site.  

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