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Ukraine needs much broader assistance program than Javelins, - Wesley Clark

Author : Elina Beketova

Respondent : Wesley Clark

"We don't want a peacekeeping mission that would lock in concrete something that's unjust and illegal," - General Wesley Clark, retired Supreme Allied Commander Europe
15:00, 14 December 2017

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Wesley Clark, retired Supreme Allied Commander Europe, master of Philosophy, Politics and Economics and in military science spoke of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, how to end was and Ukraine and to reduce the losses with Elina Beketova.

What would you recommend how to win the war with Russia in the Eastern part of Ukraine and how yo end this war?

Ending the war it's not what Ukraine can do by itself. It's going to take Ukraine doing certain things. And the actions of the outside powers, including the United States, Germany, NATO and the European Union to persuade Russia to let go from Crimea and pull out of Eastern Ukraine. But the first and essential thing is to stabilize Ukraine. So, the military has done a very good job. I'd like to see military able to continue its work. Loss 1 or two per day - that's a tragedy, so we want to reduce it to one or two per week. So, that's the first requirement. And then there are things that have to be done here in Ukraine, the military has to be modernized.

It's not fully modernized. The political system has to be more outlined with the West, so it means civilian control of the armed forces. The ministry of defense has to become a politician. No more coronel general is a minister of defense. We don't do it in the West. We have political careers. And then we need to make sure that there is an adequate oversight by the Rada of the military budget and military performance. Even during World War 2 in the United States, there was a committee in the US Congress in a very adversarial way question the armed forces, even in the fight for the national survival. So, it's the way it's done in democracies. And then I think, there are serious issues here about economic growth and development. You've got tremendous resources in Ukraine - mineral resources, hydrocarbon resources, wonderful agriculture, you are in a strategical location. All of that has to be put for the Ukrainian people. And you have to bring foreign investment to help you do this. And to do this, you have to have political stability and you have to end some of the corruption. I say, some of the corruption because every nation has people who try to take advantage including the United States. Some clerk has been arrested for stealing 50 dollars or 10000 dollars. It happens, it's just how the human nature is. But war profiteer is a different matter. When the United States first built up it's armed forces, for our own civil war, in 1961, we ordered uniforms, food, weapons, and the first batches of weapons, food, and uniforms were flawed. The uniforms feel apart, the food was uneatable, the weapons didn't work, and people charged prices. They went to jail. We crack down the war profiteer in the first world war, 100 years ago, we also worked against war profiteer. And now we have a contracting system. it's very transparent. It’s not really to manufacture goods and sell them in the inflated prices to the U.S. forces. It's not that they are cheap, it just about that we have a system that looks about it. And I think we need to move in that direction in Ukraine.

Related: Canadian Parliament recommended to provide Ukraine with lethal arms, introduce visa-free travel

What are the chanced to get lethal weapons for Ukraine?

I think it's a good chance, it depends on the decision by the President. He has to make that decision. I hope he makes that decision sometime in the new year, but I can't predict anything. I would say this - the requirement for the lethal weapons was urgent that in the summer of 2014 and had we had those weapons in Debaltseve in 2015 we would have saved a few lives here in Ukraine. But today instead of just Javelin missiles what we really need is much broader and comprehensive assistance program for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Related: US Senator calls on Trump to provide Ukraine with lethal arms

From your experience in Kosovo, what do you think about the UN peacekeeping mission? You know that we have different positions with Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S. How to find the solution and what mandate should have this mission here?

I am not in favor of a peacekeeping mission unless it's a Chapter 7 Peacekeeping Mission, that gives the UN force, the authority to go wherever it needs to go inside Ukraine and also the authority to go across the border in the Russia for some distance. Of course, Russia is against it. What they would like to do is to stabilize the front, put another diplomatic obstacle in facing Ukraine, so Ukraine can't secure it's own borders.  Under the Minsk agreement, Ukraine has the right to secure its borders with Russia. But Russia wouldn't permit Ukraine to go even within its own borders. So this is unjust, it's illegal and we don't want a peacekeeping mission that would lock in concrete something that's unjust and illegal.

But how to persuade Russia of that? Because they won't let the UN peacekeeping mission to be on the whole territory of Donbas. 

Related: US Senate changes policy on provision of Ukraine with lethal weapons

You won't be able to persuade Russia on that, you may have to apply leverage in another way. So I think the best way to persuade Russia to do that is to strengthen the economy, politics and the military security in Ukraine. 

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