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Wash Post: Obama should ask why ultra-nationalists have prominent roles in Ukrainian govt

March 11, 2014, 15:52 UTC+3
“Obama should anticipate that if far-right figures shape the policies of the new government, tensions between the eastern and western parts of the country will get worse,” writer Eugene Robinson warns
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© EPA/Olivier Douliery / POOL

WASHINGTON, March 11. /ITAR-TASS/. The US president should have caution in relations with the new Ukrainian authorities. He should ask why far-right ultra-nationalists play such a prominent role in the country’s authorities, Washington Post opinion writer Eugene Robinson writes on Tuesday.

“When the new Ukrainian prime minister (Arseniy Yatsenyuk, appointed by the Verkhovna Rada) visits the White House this week, President Obama should offer continued support — but also ask pointedly why several far-right ultra-nationalists have such prominent roles in Ukraine’s new government. I don’t know of any reason to doubt Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s commitment to democracy and pluralism. The same cannot be said for other members of the provisional regime.”

“Oleksandr Sych, one of three vice prime ministers, is a member of the controversial All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” party,” Robinson goes on. “Members of Svoboda also run the agriculture and environment ministries. Last year, the World Jewish Congress called on the European Union to consider banning what it considered neo-Nazi parties, including Svoboda,” the author notes.

“The head of the National Security and Defense Council, in charge of the armed forces, is Andriy Parubiy, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine, an openly neo-fascist precursor to Svoboda. Parubiy’s deputy is Dmitro Yarosh, the leader of Right Sector, a far-right paramilitary group that clashed violently with the security forces of deposed leader Viktor Yanukovych.”

“All of this is to say that the situation in Ukraine is not as simple as it might seem,” the observer stresses. “It’s not fair to say that the new government is dominated by the far right. But the front-and-center presence of these unsavory characters should be enough to warn policymakers in Washington that Ukraine’s new leaders will have to be pressed to respect the rights of all citizens, including supporters of the ousted regime.”

“Obama should anticipate that if far-right figures shape the policies of the new government, tensions between the eastern and western parts of the country will get worse,” the opinion writer warns.

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