American Specialists Investigate Alleged Ukrainian Arms Sales to Iraq

They probably came to Ukraine to find out how their planes could avoid being detected by radar systems

The American and British expert committee investigating Ukraine’s alleged arm sales to Iraq completed its work on Ukrainian territory and left the country. During the investigation process, the experts visited several military units, the Topaz enterprise in the Donetsk region (where sophisticated radar systems are produced), and conducted meetings with spokespeople for the executive power and parliamentarians.

Ukraine has recently been charged with alleged sales of the "Kolchuga" radar system to Iraq. The Ukrainian parliament has set up its own special committee to investigate the arms sales case. The political opposition in Ukraine has already called it a “committee for the president.” The opposition suspects that the unstable pro-presidential majority in the Ukrainian Parliament wants to vindicate President Kuchma rather than determine the truth.

Ukrainian television channels reported on the work of the American and British group of experts. Journalists repeatedly said in their reports that these foreign experts did not find anything. It stands to reason that the experts did not have the goal of locating the location from which Kolchuga radar systems were shipped to Iraq (if they were shipped at all). Most likely, they were looking for completely different things. We will soon find out if they found anything or not.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Carlos Pascual said on Thursday there will be a report made regarding the probe in Ukraine. Pascual said that the report will be released in London seven to ten days after the complete collection of information. "The team is still working on the process of collecting as many facts as they can. At that point, they will write, in London, their report analyzing the material to determine if there is any other additional information that they need," Ambassador Pascual told reporters.

He stressed that the U.S. did not have any doubts regarding the authenticity of the audio tape from Major Melnichenko. A part of those tapes contains a conversation in Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma’s office regarding the sale of radar systems to Iraq. The tapes were proved authentic, which later resulted in the current scandal.

The reaction of the Ukrainian government to the American specialists’ conclusions was rather strange. They ordered their own analysis of certain tapes (there are no original tapes of that conversation in Ukraine, though). Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry invited Carlos Pascual to receive the notes with the conclusions of the Ukrainian experts. They concluded that the tapes of the conversation that the U.S. State Department referred to were changed after the original recording. Were they the exact tapes that the U.S. State Department referred to? It is not yet clear.

It seems the Ukrainian government can sense the vulnerability of their position. Until recently, there has been no tape analysis performed, due to the absence of the original tape. What did they examine this time, and what is it all about? There were other versions of the tape prepared for that. For example, one of them says it was not good to refer to Major Melnichenko’s audio tapes, because he bugged secret talks, having broken the law. Maybe Melnichenko is a spy? Ukrainians are currently paving the way for anti-American hysteria. One can get this feeling from certain television programs, or from what politicians say.

Vladimir Malinkovich, a member of the State Committee for Democracy and Public Development, said: “Speaking about the special need to improve relations with America, I do not think that this policy will be popular in the country nowadays. America is working on a war, and this war is not likely to be popular. The United States has been working on this war regardless of what Europe and the majority of other countries think on the subject. There is no point in making bootlicking gestures for the USA in this respect.”

Americans are drawn to believe the results of their own experts. They do not doubt that Melnichenko’s tape is genuine, even after the Ukrainian demarche. The experts were divided into three groups (one of them worked in the defense field; the second one, in the political field; and the third, in arms exports). The head of the parliamentary committee for national security and defense, Georgy Kryuchkov, believes that all three groups studied the political aspects of the export control over Ukrainian arms. The experts also found out how many Kolchuga radar systems were produced in Ukraine and where they were located. However, this might not be their main goal to pursue.

Perhaps, the Americans arrived in Ukraine to find out how their planes could avoid being detected by Kolchuga radar systems during the military operation against Iraq? Radar producers and sellers know all about it, don’t they?

Vladimir Malinkovich, the head of the State Committee for Democracy and Public Development: “I think that the country’s administration is acting correctly now. I do not know if there was a mistake made in the past, as we have only audio tapes about the alleged arms sale. This material is not really trustworthy, because it was obtained on a illegal basis and then handed over to the special services of another country. Therefore, it goes about espionage here. If we received a tape of some secret conversation in the White House, or a tape from the Oval Office, we would be very surprised too. Therefore, if the charges are only based on Major Melnichenko's records, then there is nothing scary about it. However, if there was at least one sophisticated radar system sold to Iraq, then it will be much worse. If the Ukrainian government is sure that it did not sell any radar systems, then Ukraine is supposed to be absolutely open for any kind of investigation or probes. This is what is happening at the moment. If America acts contrary to UN resolutions, Ukraine won’t approve. Our government and our leadership must act according to the interests of our own people and for the sake of peace in the world. If America is being aggressive, Ukraine’s interests will not include any active steps for the improvement of friendly relations with the United States."

Andrey Lubensky Ukraine PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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