Video posted August 5, 2014:
RT: The National Guard is heavily involved in the current crackdown on anti-government forces in the East. So how do you think their training and arming by the U.S. will affect the course of the conflict?
ST: It is very important to point out that the National Guard is, in fact, the armed section of the Right Sector and the Svoboda Party. So that was really an elegant way for the putchist authorities in Kiev to bypass the ban on paramilitary organizations. They simply put them in Ukrainian National Guard uniforms and made them “legal.” They are also highly motivated. Unlike the regular Ukrainian army, they are actually the ones doing most of the fighting. In particular most of them seem to come from Galicia and Podolia, and these regions are traditionally known for being the hotbed of extreme nationalism.
I don’t think that the publically quoted figures, such as $17-19 million, amount to a great deal; but I believe the arming has been going on for quite some time. Let us not forget that a month ago Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warned that this was going on. He said that the Western countries were throwing kerosene on fire. In addition, even at the time when the Maidan turned seriously ugly, in January, it was common knowledge in Kiev that the Lithuanian and Polish secret services were involved in providing training and equipment to the Maidan so-called protesters.
RT: The West has been putting pressure on Russia, accusing it of supporting self-defense activists with arms. And now both the U.S. and the E.U. are doing just that to the other side – so what message does that send?
ST: The fundamental message is that the European Union has ceased to be an autonomous or even semi-autonomous foreign-policy actor in its own right. We have been hearing not only for years but for decades about the need for the E.U. to develop its own common foreign policy. Now what we are seeing is that the arm-twisting from Washington has succeeded, and that the United States is effectively dictating the terms of the E.U. foreign policy, and is in fact present on the European continent as the key architect of the security situation, to a greater extent than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
RT: Why do you think the E.U. has lifted the arms ban on the quiet? How does the E.U. decision sit with its stated policy of not to supply arms to conflict-torn countries?
ST: Of course it is a blatant hypocrisy. Not only, as the Russian Foreign Ministry said, because they wanted to ban such supplies to Yanukovich yet are now giving it to this lot, but because they actually refused to treat this as a conflict in the first place. It is simply a “rebellion,” and the so-called “legitimate Ukrainian authorities” are involved in the security operation to “re-establish law and order.” What this implies is that any level of legitimacy is denied to the self-defense forces in the Lugansk and Donetsk Oblasts.