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Arms scandal: an attack on Yushchenko2008-12-23 09:05
On 19th December the parliamentary commission investigating illegal arms supplies to Georgia passed on its concluding report to be judged by the Verkhovna Rada. The head of the commission Valery Konovalyuk started his speech with a clip from the infamous documentary "War 08.08.08". This demonstrated how Georgian soldiers fought in South Ossetia, and what weapons they were using.
According to information supplied by the commission, Ukraine was the largest supplier of arms to Georgia from 2004 onwards. From last summer supplies literally flooded into Georgia. Georgia received 25 ‘Grad' multiple launch rocket systems, four Kolchuga radar stations, 15 Shkval modules, 16 armoured transporters, a ‘Mandat' radio interference system and 1.8 million pieces of high calibre ammunition. At prices three times below their market value. Konovalyuk reiterated that the ultra-modern Ukrainian ‘Buk-M1' air defense system was withdrawn from combat alert at the personal order of President Viktor Yushchenko. And was sold to Georgia for $20 million, even though Pakistan was offering five times more for it.
Apart from arms supplies at discount prices, the commission uncovered another extremely interesting fact. Over four years $2.5 billion worth of weapons were sold, but only 200 million reached the state coffers. 90 percent of the earnings disappeared somewhere between Kyiv and Tbilisi. Konovalyuk presented Rada deputies with documents proving that President Yushchenko was involved.
"We have evidence that with the money obtained from arms supplies the president gained two silver-coloured armoured jeeps... This constitutes a crime committed by several leading political figures, therefore we need to pass sentence on this regime," said the head of the commission. "In any democratic country and any normal European state facts such as these, even a portion of them, would have led to the voluntary resignation of the officials involved. But the man who has a four-percent approval rating and has practically led the country into bankruptcy is now doing everything he can to hold onto power and avoid responsibility for what he has done. These materials are sufficient to launch impeachment proceedings against President Yushchenko."
Konovalyuk's tirade provoked an extremely emotional response from Yushchenko's close advisers. Hence Andrei Parubiy, a deputy from the "Our Ukraine - Popular Self-Defence" bloc, said: "Konovalyuk is performing the function of a propagandist and agitator who is spreading anti-Ukrainian reports which are undermining our national interests."