Alexandr Gorobets: Clearing up situation around Ukraine’s illegal arm sale caused instituting proceedings

Ukraine is for a long time being accused of illegal sale of arms. In Italian city Turin, a trial is being continued on former Odessa citizen Alexandr Zhukov accused of armament’s supplies to the Balkans and to local Mafia. Major Nikolai Melnichenko states Alexandr Zhukov had relations with first persons of Ukraine, while demonstrating some records to Ukrainian editorial staff of international Liberty Radio. Before the New Year, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma’s closest surrounding started to “investigate” this question. Kievski Telegraf newspaper published materials meant for Ukrainian Security Service and for the Public Prosecutor General’s Office, as if devoted to secretary of the National Security Council, Yevgeni Marchuk’s implication in illegal export of arm. “Discharge” of these discreditable materials was made by Andrei Derkach, the owner of Kievski Telegraf and son of ex-chairman of the Security Council. General Marchuk, in his turn, also was not inactive. In different mass media, reports appeared that the Derkaches, sun and father, had sold armament and had even ruined profitable for Ukraine supplies to the Middle East. In Moscow, the State Duma’s deputy Viktor Ilyukhin said that Ukrainian oligarch Vadim Ryabinovich, Andrei Derkach’s close friend) supplied armament directly to the Taliban. All these accusations in general correspond with information that within the years of independence, arms in sum of $ 32 million have disappeared from Ukrainian military storehouses. While in the country, there is the Security Council, the Internal Ministry, the Public Prosecutor General’s Office, the Military Prosecutor’s office. It looks like detailed investigation of this disappearance lies ahead, though it the New Year’s first days reports appeared that Ukrainian Public Prosecutor General’s Office instituted proceedings connected with illegal arm sale. This was said today by two deputies of the Public Prosecutor General’s, Alexei Baranets and Alexandr Atamanyuk, the chief of the Military Prosecutors Office. The reason why these proceedings were instituted were numerous accusations of some Ukrainian people’s deputies against certain officials. The proceedings were supported also by parliamentary Taras Chernovol, while Anti-Mafia public committee’s leaders Grigori Omelchenko and Anatoli Yermak sent a deputy inquiry to Public Prosecutor General Mikhail Petebenko. In particular, the inquiry states that Yevgeni Marchuk, secretary of the National Security Council, and ex-head of Security Service of Ukraine Leonid Derkach are implicated in the illegal arm sale. The inquiry demands to institute proceedings in illegal arm sale and to create an operative group of workers of the Public Prosecutor General’s Office and of Ukrainian Security Service and to carry out an investigation of all facts presented by mass media about all officials’ implication in illegal arm sale. Earlier, Yevgeni Marchuk called information about his implication in the arm sale a well prepared provocation aimed at discredit of him and the Security Council, maybe because earlier he was at the head of the Security Council. He also addressed to president Leonid Kuchma asking him to charge the Security Service, the Public Prosecutor General and the Foreign Ministry to carry out a detailed check-up of all materials connected with accusation of illegal arm sale against Ukraine. According to some observers, the story went too far. If Kuchma does not want more careful public investigations abut the arm sale, he should send in his resignation. The Dergaches do not depend on him: Derkach senior, who is father of the president’s godson is on a pension, while Derkach junior is a parliamentary, so he is no longer accountable to the president. And what about Yevgeni Marchuk? Though it is probably better not to touch the ex-head of the country’s secret service? All these investigations are being carried out at the time when Ukraine got into another piquant situation connected with arm sale to Islamabad. Pakistan bought 320 tanks in Ukraine, while the sum of the contract, according to official information of Ukrainian service of Deutsche Welle, made 640 million dollars. Now, Ukraine and Pakistan cooperate mainly in the field of three projects: first, Ukraine together with China create a new model of Pakistani tank Al Halid, second, with Ukrainian participation (which is equal to 10 million dollars), Pakistani tank T-50 is being modernized, third, Kiev and Islamabad together work out equipment for Air Forces. Though all the projects are threatened with failure now, partly because of the Indian-Pakistani conflict, while partly because Ukrainian officials cannot share profits of the sold arm. This last fact does not better Ukraine’s image in the world market. So, Kuchma probably will be forced to act resolutely.

Alexandr Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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