Will Hurd, the member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican, Corporate adviser, former CIA operative (worked in CIA for 9 years) spoke of the U.S. supplies of lethal weapons to Ukraine, the future meeting of Poroshenko with Trump, deployment of the UN peacekeepers to Donbas in his exclusive interview to the 112 Ukraine TV channel's Elina Beketova on the sidelines of the YES conference, which took place in Kyiv on September 15.
The series of interviews 112 International Insight introduces the viewpoint of influential Western experts, who are the source of a new, fresh point of view, different from the one of the Ukrainian experts, who usually comments on the current situation.
“Congress has actually already acted on this (lethal weapons for Ukraine). And there are only two countries that the U.S. Congress has done separate appropriations funding bills for, that's Israel and Ukraine. And we've already established the ability to have the weapons in the funds that we have appropriated for the Ukraine. I know that Trump administration is reviewing this policy. I know the Secretary Mattis, head of our department on defense and HR McMaster, our National Security adviser understand the need for it. I'm supportive of it. I think we need to be giving more support and lethal aid to Ukraine to fight our common enemy - the Russians,” Hurd commented on the possibility of U.S. giving lethal weapons to Ukraine.
“There are a lot of supporters in the House of Representatives. I'm sure is anybody is reading the newspapers or watching news, they realize the fighting that goes on between Republicans and Democrats but this is one of those few issues that has overwhelming support when it comes to the support to our friends here in Ukraine,” he added.
“I think the last administration believed that the use of lethal weapons here would cause an escalation of tensions between Ukraine and Russia. I'm of the opinion that is the decision left up to Ukraine, if, you know, understanding what is the second and third order or fact of the use of this weapons so now the Trump administration is reviewing this policy and deciding if there's going to be a change,” he said.
The President of Ukraine and U.S. President Donald Trump were scheduled to meet at the General Assembly that is recently taking place. Will Hurd noted the importance of the meeting.
“I'm sure the question will be brought up (in the meeting of Poroshenko and Trump at the UN General Assembly) and whether the administration is prepared to give a definitive answer, I don't know. But I think this is something that we can see, a decision that should be made sometime this fall. And this meeting is important because it's one more way that our two countries can continue to work together. I tell all my friends back in Taxes: this is not a separatist movement that's happening in Eastern Ukraine, this is an invasion of another country, that the Russians are involved. 920 tanks in use in Eastern Ukraine are Russian tanks and that we need to be supportive of our friends here, in Ukraine and the Russian are using the latest tools and technology when it comes to electronic warfare. And they're doing it right here in Eastern Ukraine, we need to be countering that and working together as our two great nations. Working together, we can stop the threat of Russia.
Answering the question about UN peacekeeping mission in Donbas, he said:
- I think it's very clear that Eastern part of Ukraine is Ukrainian territory and it should go back to Ukraine. I don't think we need UN making a decision on that. I think what Russians need to do is to take their tanks and their troops and go back home. I support the international community to resolve this, may be necessary but the preconditions should be very simple: the Russians should leave, this is not a debated territory, this is something that they try to take by force. And that's a violation of international law.
Speaking about the necessity to build a wall on Ukrainian-Russian border, he commented:
"My experience is back home. I have hundreds of kilometers of border between the U.S. and Mexico, - more than any other member of Congress. And I know that in the U.S. building a wall from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security. And you have to build barrier that can deal with the threats and so I think that threat here in Eastern Ukraine is a little different than a threat we have from Northern Mexico or the Southern United States but you have to build barriers that can resist whatever the threat is and I think technology is the way to go. It's 2017, we should be utilizing the latest technology and manpower in order to secure our borders.
Yalta European Strategy (YES) was founded by businessmen Viktor Pinchuk in 2004 and usually took place at the Livadia Palace in Yalta but after the annexation of Crimea, it was relocated to the capital of Ukraine. Opening of 14th YES meeting took place at the Besarabsky Market in the downtown of Kyiv for the first time. YES meetings have brought together heads of state and government such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Bill Clinton, Dalia Grybauskaitė, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Bronisław Komorowski, Mario Monti, Shimon Peres and Donald Trump. This year the partakers of the forum have concentrated on such global issues as the shifts in the geopolitical allocation of forces and changes in the global economy.