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Alternative General Staff of Ukrainian Army posing threat to country, Europe - experts

February 20, 2015, 21:10 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Prospects for the setting up of an alternative General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces testifies to the ineptness of top commanders of the Armed Forces and to the attempts to organize "an oligarchic coup" in favor of the country’s political warmongers, experts polled by TASS said on Friday.

On Thursday, the commander of the Donbas punitive battalion and Verkhovna Rada deputy Semyon Semenchenko made public a plan to set up a Unified Staff of Ukrainian Volunteer Forces with headquarters in Dnipropetrovsk. A memorandum on the motion was signed by representatives of thirteen battalions and public associations, including five warlords and the leader of the radical nationalist Right Sector movement, Dmitry Yarosh.

According to the organizers, the staff of volunteer battalions will be a center for coordination, exchange of intelligence data, and the drafting of operation plans that will be handed later on to the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

"Events of the past few months and especially of the past several weeks have shown inability of people at the General Staff to control and coordinate the Ukrainian troops appropriately," Semenchenko wrote. He called on President Petro Poroshenko to change the top commanders in the General Staff.

Somewhat later, however, Semenchenko who had familiarized himself with reaction to his declarations in the Internet rushed to disprove the accusations that the "volunteer forces" staff he was about to set up together with Yarosh would put pressure on Poroshenko or would commit violent actions against the incumbent authorities.

He promised to obey the orders of government agencies.

"For any country, one-man command is the cornerstone element for defense capability of any country," Dr. Konstantin Sivkov, the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems told TASS. "The setting up of a parallel ‘general staff’ in Dnipropetrovsk process the system of control over the Ukrainian Armed Forces is collapsing and the ‘volunteer detachments’ have totally stopped reporting to the Supreme Commander personalized by President Poroshenko and to the country’s Defense Minister."

"Standing behind this ‘unified staff of volunteer forces’ are Ukrainian oligarchs with Igor Kolomoisky, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region at the head," Dr. Sivkov said. "Kolomoisky, whom the Russian Investigators have placed on an international wanted list in connection with a case on the use of prohibited instruments and methods of warring, propelled the field commanders to the Verkhovna Rada."

"In other words, the oligarchs are setting up a strike fist in the strife for redistribution of state power in Ukraine in favor of the ‘party of war’ alongside with the (existing) center of political influence," he believes.

"It’s all too obvious that the initiative for an alternative ‘general staff’ emerged after a collapse of the operation the pro-Kiev forces had been conducting near Debaltsevo and it aims at a revenge, at a continuation of the civil war in Donbas in violation of the agreements on ceasefire and pullout of weaponry reached in Minsk on February 12," Dr. Sivkov said.

Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, the president of the International Center for Geopolitical Analysis believes the setting up of the parallel "general staff" deserves a "Farewell Ukraine" epigraph.

"An uncanny radical force, the Right Sector, and the field commanders of paramilitary ‘volunteer’ units have spoken out in defense of narrowly egotistic interests of the oligarchs," he said. "But if you take account of the fact this force is well-organized and armed and that it has heavy armaments in its disposal, it will be tearing the state and society apart," Gen Ivashov said.

"Demands for resignation of top commanding officers of the General Staff will be followed by the attempts on the part of the parallel staff to dislodge the Supreme Commander," he said. "The country will be pushed into turbulence, with everyone warring against everyone."

"Europe may bump into a situation the Middle East gripped by the unruly and uncontrollable Isis has bumped into," the expert said.

"The surfacing of an alternative ‘general staff’ in Ukraine exposes a practical split between Poroshenko and Kolomoisky, who is trying to turn the battalions he finances into an own army," said Alexander Khramchikhin, a deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis."

"Initially, this quasi-army was knocked together to suppress revolt in the east of Ukraine but now it will be spearheaded at the ‘party of peace’ in Kiev," he said.

"The rise of this parallel center of political and power-wielding influences is bearing a threat to Ukraine’s existence within its current border and its transformation into a semblance of Somalia where two de facto states and several illicit zones exist at a time," Khramchikhin said. "The problem is the dismantling of a state in the center of Europe will pose a threat to the entire continent and will have totally unpredictable consequences."


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