MOSCOW (Sputnik) — After Kiev launched its military operation in Donbas in April 2014, Ukrainian authorities repeatedly called on the Western countries asking them for lethal assistance. Many European countries, including Germany and France, immediately ruled out arming Kiev. The United States is yet to make a decision on the matter.
"The Ukrainian military is becoming increasingly dependent on the US military. For Kiev, receiving American military support is crucial to securing and strengthening its hold of Ukraine," Marcus Papadopoulos, British political expert and editor-in-chief of Politics First magazine, said.
According to Papadopoulos, the Ukrainian army still enjoys a relatively high degree of autonomy mainly due to Ukraine’s large military-industrial complex that, despite being treated with negligence since the collapse of the Soviet Union, is still able to serve the country's needs. However, in light of the current economic situation in Ukraine the prospects of the country’s military-industrial sphere seem blurred.
"With the Ukrainian economy in a dire condition and on the verge of total collapse, with potentially fatal implications for the country's industrial-military complex, the Ukrainian military will inevitably look increasingly towards the US for a lifeline."
According to Papadopoulos, for Washington Kiev’s dependence is beneficial as it allows to fulfill its long-sought goal of accepting Ukraine to NATO "thus completing the encirclement of the Russian Federation on its western borders with NATO members."
The course chosen by Poroshenko’s government, that, according to the expert, is now exercising all efforts "to destroy for good Ukraine’s historic links to Russia" – including by banning the use of Soviet symbols and names – also leads to the country's increasing dependence on Washington.
"Any talk of the US ‘walking away’ from Ukraine is absurd and naive… If the return for its financial undertakings to Ukraine is completely encircling Russia in Europe, then this is a price that is well worth paying."
Stevan Gajic, who is a research fellow at the Institute for European Studies in Belgrade, Serbia, also acknowledges growing dependency of the Ukrainian army from the United States.
"In Ukraine the central government itself invited Americans to provide it with military assistance," Gajic said noting, however, that the United States and its European allies played their part in the very emergence of the current Ukrainian government — but they did it using soft power methods, "providing political support to the illegal coup in Kiev."
In April 2015, the US Army sent 300 paratroopers to western Ukraine to train Ukraine’s National Guard. Later in 2015 Kiev is planning to hold three joint exercises with US military.
- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (top C) addresses recruits from the presidential regiment as war veterans look on during Victory Day celebrations in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Kiev, Ukraine May 9, 2015© REUTERS / Gleb Garanich
- US military instructors arrive in Ukraine© Sputnik / Stringer
- Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko passes by U.S. armored Humvees in Boryspil Airport, Kiev, Ukraine© AP Photo / Efrem Lukatsky
- Ukrainian servicemen deploy a weapon at the beach of the Azov Sea in Shyrokyne, eastern Ukraine© AP Photo / Evgeniy Maloletka
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