Reports expose UK, US arming of Ukraine military including fascist forces

Britain is to escalate its armament of Ukraine’s military forces, including fascist battalions, Downing Street has pledged. The UK is looking to supply the Kiev government with Starstreak high velocity surface-to-air missiles, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said, threatening, “Britain will not be deterred by Russia from supplying weapons to Ukraine.”

The statement was made after reports that three British ex-special forces personnel were killed in a Russian attack on a military facility close to the Polish border on Sunday. Their deaths have not been officially confirmed and the British government denies its military personnel are on the ground in Ukraine.

Soldiers stand near the anti-tank missile systems 'Stugna' in the Kiev armored plant in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, November 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

This is a lie. Thousands of foreign mercenaries, many from military and fascist backgrounds are active in Ukraine and UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in February that she “absolutely” backed Britons going to Ukraine to fight Russia. The government subsequently said that it would be illegal for Britons to leave in order to fight in Ukraine, but this was for the record. Nothing has been done to stop anyone from traveling there.

The criminal character of the Russian invasion cannot detract from the fact that NATO has been involved in unending provocations against Moscow since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Having backed the right-wing Maidan coup in 2014, it has stepped up the arming and training of Ukrainian forces as part of efforts for regime-change in Moscow, and the carving up of Russia, in much the same way that NATO dismembered Yugoslavia.

Notwithstanding official denials, evidence proves that NATO is already covertly at war against Russia in Ukraine.

A report from the House of Commons library “Military Assistance to Ukraine 2014-2021”, was released on March 4. It states, “UK military assistance to Ukraine is longstanding”. Officially this commenced with “bilateral military assistance” in October 2014, shortly after the Maidan putsch but unofficial military ties go back to 1991.

That year Ukraine joined NATO’s North Atlantic Cooperation Council as a partner country and the Partnership for Peace programme in 1994.

In early 2015, the UK’s Operation Orbital was announced, involving “non-lethal” military equipment and 'guidance and training to the Ukrainian armed forces through several advisory and short-term training teams.” In the two years between 2015 and 2017, the UK “gifted” £2.2 million of non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine. This has been expanded ever since. In November 2019, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed that Operation Orbital would be extended until March 2023. The operation includes “Training for defensive operations in an urban environment.”

Ukraine was given Enhanced Opportunity status with NATO in June 2020, which “provides Ukraine with preferential access to NATO’s exercises, training and exchange of information and situational awareness, in order to increase interoperability. In September 2020, Ukraine hosted Exercise Joint Endeavour, with British, US and Canadian troops, the first exercise under Ukraine’s new enhanced status.”

In October that year, a Memorandum of Intent between the UK and Ukraine agreed to develop Kiev’s naval capabilities. Contracts underway involve “the sale and integration of missiles” on Ukraine’s Navy patrols, the “development and joint production of eight fast missile warships” and “Assistance in building new naval bases in the Black Sea and Azov Sea.”

The briefing states that the UK has trained 22,000 Ukrainian military personnel as part of these initiatives.

Britain has followed the US lead. Ukraine has been a “leading recipient of US foreign and military aid since the early 1990s. In the first decade after independence, Ukraine received almost $2.6 billion in US aid. In the years leading up to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukraine was receiving an estimated $105 million per annum, including foreign military financing,” the Commons report states.

“In 2014 the Obama administration provided significant non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine… At the time, the Obama administration, with the support of Congress, indicated that it was considering providing Ukraine with lethal weapons if ‘diplomacy fails to end the crisis in the east’”.

It was the Trump administration that officially decided to provide Ukraine with “major defensive lethal weaponry”.

“It was the withholding of Ukrainian security assistance and specifically the provision of lethal weaponry that was linked to the first impeachment trial of President Trump in 2019,” the report states. The “pause” was lifted in September 2019, after which, in August 2021, “the US and Ukraine also signed a Strategic Defense Framework to provide a foundation for strengthening defence cooperation. Among its priorities are defence industry reform, strengthening cooperation with respect to security in the Black Sea, cyber defence and intelligence sharing, and countering Russian aggression.”

An indication of who is receiving this funding is given by the Declassified website which published photos of a meeting in Kiev last year, believed to be in September 2021, between three British commanders of Operation Orbital and three officers from Ukraine’s National Guard (NGU).

“The NGU was formed in 2014 to incorporate an array of paramilitary and volunteer battalions which were fighting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine,” Declassified writes. “This included a neo-Nazi unit, the Azov Battalion, which reportedly has a thousand soldiers.'

The MoD “believed… the meeting to be private and should not have been publicised.” “There is no mention of the meeting in any UK records that are publicly available” but the photo was originally posted by the NGU on social media who reported that Lt Col Andy Cox, deputy commander of Orbital, was in attendance.

The NGU report quoted Cox as promising “the British military is ready to involve representatives of the National Guard of Ukraine in the training activities being conducted today for units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to develop their combat capabilities.”

An MoD spokesperson denied the claims to Declassified, stating that the “meeting was a routine engagement… to improve mutual understanding.”

Declassified reports that four months before the meeting, the same “NGU website posted a statement to mark the Azov Regiment’s seven-year anniversary. Titled ‘Seven years of victory’, it gushed with extravagant praise for the neo-Nazi unit.”

Citing a 2021 report from the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University, Declassified discloses that a member of another fascist militia, Centuria, several of whose members currently serve in Ukraine’s military, “received 11 months of officer training at Britain’s elite military training facility Sandhurst, graduating in 2020.”

While the MoD officially denies involvement, Britain’s media is openly crowing about UK’s role in the NATO war against Russia.

Last week, the Daily Telegraph boasted “The inside story of how Britain armed Ukraine’s resistance to Russia.”

“The true story of how the world armed Ukraine is both fascinating and inspiring”, it writes. MI6, special forces, US intelligence and cyber warfare operatives “have all played their part”.

Ukrainian Colonel Yevgen Bondar told the Telegraph, “We are getting a lot of serious help. The NLAWs [Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapons] took out three tanks and one armoured fighting vehicle. Burnt them out. Burnt beautifully.”

Describing the NLAWs, an Anglo-Swedish munition, as “a great leveller in the battle between Russian and Ukrainian armed forces”, the Colonel said, “The NLAW is a wonderful thing. A Javelin [the American-made portable anti-tank missile] has better range—but in the city, [NLAW] is better”.

“Each NLAW costs £30,000 and is single-use”, the newspaper reports. Britain has sent 3,615 NLAWs to Ukraine, including 2,000 supplied before the Russian invasion. “And that is just a small part of the total. To date, more than 17,000 missiles, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, have been sent to Ukraine by the democratic West in the biggest emergency supply mission since the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49. And with every hour that passes, thousands more weapons, bullets, helmets, ballistic vests, high energy rations and night-sights pour in.”

The newspaper cites the leading role of the Obama administration in providing military aid and funding to Ukraine that began the organising and training of a “130,000-strong army of reservists. Some are already battle-hardened after fighting in the disputed Donbas region.”

US Cyber Command has cyber-mission teams around Eastern Europe, the Telegraph states, to “disrupt” Russian communications and digital attacks, while US intelligence sharing troop movements with Ukraine.

The US and UK are among 14 countries to have supplied Ukraine with arms. “Neutral” Sweden and Finland sent thousands of anti-tank weapons, while Germany has supplied Ukraine with 1,400 anti-tank rockets and 500 Stingers. The Netherlands is sending 40 Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons, 400 missiles and 200 Stingers. Other countries are supplying thousands of pistols, assault rifles, machine guns, ammunition and sniper rifles.

The newspaper reports that “military experts have speculated that British special forces are on the ground in Ukraine, wearing Ukrainian army uniforms, acting as observers.”