Tbilisi thinks Yanukovich is like Yushchenko18.08.2010 | 13:35
Despite a thaw in Russia-Ukraine relationship induced by Victor Yanukovich's coming to power, the media continues discussing the future arms procurement to Georgia from Ukraine. The same matter is mentioned by such official persons as former head of Urkspetsexport Sergey Bondarchuk and head of Verkhovna Rada interim commission for investigating military equipment supplies to Georgia Valeriy Konovalyuk.
According to official data, in recent years, Ukraine has been one of Georgia's principal foreign trade partners. For instance, in 2008, the goods turnover between the countries amounted to as much as one billion dollars. The lion's share of the amount, naturally, comprised armament for the Georgian army: T-72 tanks, Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters and Buk air defense missile systems surprisingly withdrawn from standby alert in Ukrainian military units.
According to Sergey Bondarchuk, Ukraine needs arms sale not only from financial perspective; it lets the country be identified in the world as a player. "We have got not only Shevchenko, Klichko or Chernobyl; we have also got AN system-based planes, Kolchuga system-based radar stations, rocket production and equipment improvement. The world knows us as arms dealers as well, and we should not be embarrassed at it", - the former head of Ukrspetsexport stated.
On his part, Valeriy Konovalyuk says that Ukraine has got the right to supply arms to any country, which has no bans under to the UN Security Council resolution. "If we do not violate the Convention, the basic OSCE agreement, we can supply defense arms to Georgia", - he is cited by Rosbalt. However, Konovalyuk also added that one should not procure offensive weapon to a conflict zone, as well as ammunition that might entail mass killing.
In this aspect, Ukraine Prime Minister Nikolay Azarov's upcoming trip to Tbilisi looks rather interesting. It is known already that in autumn, Azarov will discuss the Caspian gas import and Ukrainian weapon export with the Georgian authorities.
Some of Ukrainian media made a hasty conclusion that Georgia, along which territory transport corridors and oil and gas pipelines are running, remains an important partner for Kiev in the South-Caucasian strategic region, while after the pro-Russian pre-electoral promises and spring resentment at the Georgian observers, Yanukovich's associates want to resume "Yushchenko" relationship with Georgia.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked head of the Caucasus department of CIS Countries Institute Felix Stanevsky whether these conclusions sound reasonable.
The political analyst has no doubts that Georgia aims to resume Ukrainian arms procurement but it is a disputable question whether Ukraine is going to do the same, for Kiev has recently been trying to maintain friendly relations with Moscow, while arms procurement to Georgia will hardly be taken positively by the Russian party. "It is unclear what they will discuss, - Stanevsky says. - Anyway, today, it is difficult to imagine Yanukovich's government successfully selling the same volumes of weapon to Georgia as Yushchenko did".
There is an opposite situation with hydrocarbons procurement. The expert supposes that Ukraine is interested in diversification of oil and gas supplies. On the other hand, it is so far unclear how it will be done, for there is no base presently that would allow speaking of a significant and decent level of supply.
As for the future development of events, Stanevsky expressed his assuredness that Georgia and Ukraine will keep communicating, not at the level they used to, probably, but the politicians might still visit each other.
"However, I've got no impression that Ukraine and Georgia are going to become brothers, - the head of the Caucasus Department of CIS Countries Institute forecasts. - In his time, Saakashvili made everything he could to make Yanukovich lose, that's a fact. He sent his people during the electoral campaign to incite the media as much as it was possible and instigate the people to come out against Yanukovich, which fact was also widely talked about, and I do not think it will be forgotten that soon".