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Ukrainian politicians use Saakashvili for self-promotion02.09.2010 | 17:46
Mikheil Saakashvili is tuning up to the Ukrainian wave again with Kiev announcing possible resumption of massive arms supplies to Georgia. But most probably the Georgian leader's flickering hope to get Ukrainian tanks and multiple-launch rocket systems will last not more than a falling star. Statements on necessity of arms supplies to Tbilisi come from Ukraine's marginal politicians.
With Viktor Yushenko reigning in Kiev, his Georgian counterpart felt as if a young gamer suddenly getting the "gun code". With the "money code" he had from Washington Tbilisi's military plans of that time could make any strategist envy. Saakashvili's Ukrainian godfather denied him nothing.
Want some sharp shooting submachine guns, Misha old friend? - Here they are! Want some tanks protected from the enemy's fire to conquer any distance? - Have them! Can't do without munition and shells of different caliber? You can take as much as you want! Yushenko's generosity was limitless: to please his Georgian colleague and offer him a nice new toy the Ukrainian president took Buk-M1 rocket-launch complex off the combat duty.
However, the Ukrainian fairytale could not last long for the Georgian president: actually it ended long before the presidential election in Ukraine that resulted in the Ukrainian leader's humiliating defeat. During Yushenko's presidency the Ukrainian society started to get suspicious: how is it possible to sell arms to the person openly planning to aim at Ukraine's closest ally?
Besides, the financial schemes around Ukroboronservice in charge with arms supplies to Georgia were not left unnoticed by the controlling authorities. As it turned out, Yushenko & Saakashvili, two bosom friends, turned this organization into a private enterprise. For instance, the company's former leadership managed to purchase 48 rocket launchers from itself via an intermediary and sell it to the Georgian army afterwards. The money to finance this trick was borrowed in a Ukrainian bank. This episode of the two presidents' intimate friendship cost Ukraine's budget over 20 mln hryvnas. It is absolutely obvious that without consent or direct instructions from the leadership of both states such frills were impossible.
Viktor Yanukovich's advent to power took Ukraine's foreign policy from Georgia's bumpy serpentine back to a much calmer road. Now Mikheil Saakashvili recalls with sadness the bygone arms abundance looking at five pitiful APCs Ukraine shipped to Georgia last year. Yes, this is exactly the volume that Tbilisi-Kiev has come down to.
Still, not all in the Ukrainian capital are happy about these developments. Anatoly Gritsenko, chairman of Verkhovnaya Rada committee for national security and defense issues stated that arms supplies to Georgia should be continued. "If I were president of Ukraine I would continue shipping arms to Georgia", - the deputy remarked.
Georgian authorities reacted to this statement with badly concealed joy hoping for the return to old times. But it is still too early for Mikheil Saakashvili and his teammates to be overjoyed. Anatoly Gritsenko's weight and influence on Ukraine's foreign policy is equal to zero: it does not behove to him to place himself in the position of president.
In an interview with GeorgiaTimes Denis Denisov, a famous Ukrainian expert, deputy director of the Ukrainian branch of the Institute of CIS Countries defined Gritsenko as a marginal political figure like those who make statements on feeding Saakashvili regime with arms for self-promotion.
"This is not more than pre-election farce. We are having regional election in two months' time with Anatoly Gritzenko's movement among the candidates. Now he's doing his best to raise his rating which is equal to zero. In the current situation he can hardly rely even on Western Ukraine's vote", - Denisov told us.
According to him, marginal politicians can state whatever they want. "They can state that Ukraine will sell arms to Taliban, for instance, though it will never be a reality. This is nonsense and a myth", - the expert thinks.
He underlined that the current Ukrainian leaders realize all danger that large arms shipments to Georgia are fraught with. "We are well aware that today's leaders will prevent any aggravation of relations with the Russian Federation in connection with arms sales to Saakashvili. We remember Russia's reaction last time. So there is no point in stir up trouble where there is none", - he explained.