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'Kiev junta turned to Berkut special forces out of fear of losing power'

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter

Published time: April 23, 2014 10:39
Maidan self-defence activists guard the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev during a session, on April 15, 2014, as protesters outside the building demand authorities to take actions against separatism on the eastern part of the country. (AFP Photo / Sergey Supinsky)

The fact that, after dismantling the Berkut special forces, the new government in Kiev is trying to bring them back shows how desperate the government is, not having enough people to actually support them, journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark told RT.

RT: First Kiev blamed the Berkut for the Maidan killings and then disbanded the police group, however, now it's calling for their support. Why is there this sudden U-turn?

Neil Clark: I think it’s another example of outrageous hypocrisy from the ruling junta in Kiev, isn’t it? As we know, the Berkut was demonized back in January and February, they were held responsible for deaths of hundreds of people, they were called “Yanukovich’s storm troopers.” Then when the so-called Maidan people came into power the Berkut was disbanded and of course they were smeared as criminals.

Members of Berkut anti-riot unit embark in a bus as leave their barracks in Kiev February 22, 2014. (Reuters / Yannis Behrakis)

Now just a few weeks later we are told they want to bring them back. This shows the game, not only hypocrisy of Kiev Administration but also the desperate position they are in because they don’t really have enough people and forces in the military, or in the army or in the police to actually support them and maintain them in power. So they are extremely desperate now. It’s quite clear that they don’t have control of the large part of their country.

This is a desperate move and everybody would look at it and say “What a great hypocrisy this is again.” The very people that demonized Berkut forces - Berkut was demonized by the Maidan crowd before they came to power - now say “Please come back and help us save Ukraine.” Of course they are not going to save Ukraine, it is going to be the saving of a very unpopular minority unelected government in Ukraine because it was backed by the West.

RT: What about the Right Sector radicals and other armed groups which helped the interim government to power? Aren't these forces enough manpower for Kiev?

NC: The problem with the Right Sector is of course that the Maidan people came to power with the help of the Right Sector. It wouldn’t have got into power without the Right Sector. But there is a sort of uneasy relationship right now, because we know that ideally that would not want to be with the Right Sector. They have needed their violence simply to stay in power but it is simply not enough to have support of the Right Sector to achieve the [control] over the whole country.

They need more than just the Right Sector, which indeed played a very important role in getting this junta to power in Kiev and maintaining it in power. Without the Right Sector it wouldn’t have been in power today. But it’s not enough, they need more people. Hence they are asking members of Berkut to return, come back and serve them.

Members of the Ukrainian far-right radical group Right Sector stand outside the parliament in Kiev March 28, 2014. (Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)

RT: We've seen a wave of military defections in Ukraine as soldiers refused to fire on civilians. Are we likely to see a lot more defections if the crackdown resumes and indeed escalates?

NC: I think that if this crackdown regime escalates we will see more defections from the so-called authorities in Kiev. It is clear that what we witness in Ukraine is a small group of people coming to power with the help of Western money - $5 billion was earmarked for this by the US, with the help of far-right neo-Nazi thugs. But they haven’t got enough manpower to keep their control of the country. That’s pretty obvious now. We have seen lots of defections right across since February from the government to the opposition now and the ruling Kiev junta is only really in power because of the violence of the far-right keeping the power and also because being bankrolled by the US. This situation cannot carry on much longer.

We know the elections are coming up but would we even get to that stage? If they do decide to escalate the violence against pro-democracy protesters in the east, then I think we could be in for a more bloodshed and more defections. It’s quite clear that the authorities do not have control not only of the country, they don’t even have enough people to impose their will on the rest of the country.

RT: Washington's now pouring even more money into propping up the powers that be in Kiev. Is the US sure that money's being well invested?

NC: Washington is already investing so much in this project. They put $5 billion into this and they don’t want to fail now. It would be very embarrassing for them if the people they helped to get to power in Kiev, actually depose themselves. And that would be wasted money. They are very keen really to make sure, the Washington strategy is quite clear, that the main leaders of the coup in February maintain power after the elections. They would try to manipulate these elections in the way Washington has tried to manipulate elections around the globe for many years. They will try to make sure that these people are still in power after these elections. That’s what the money is for. The money is to help these people to have this sort of semblance of a democratic elections victory.

So I think Washington having spent so much time and energy on this bringing down the democratically-elected government of President Yanukovich are not going to give up now, they are going to try and make sure that their people whom they brought to power stay in power.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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