Ukraine punished over Iraq claim
I had trouble deciding where to file this. But since Ukraine seems to be begging for minor-league 'Axis of Evil' status, I put it here.
|Seems to fit pretty well... |
Millions of dollars of aid earmarked for the Ukrainian Government will be diverted to private pro-democracy projects, United States authorities have said. The change in plans came after a review of US policy towards Ukraine.
In totally unrelated news, shares of Swiss banks dipped slightly in today's trading.
State Department officials said Washington remained unhappy with Kiev's response to accusations that it supplied an air defence system to Iraq.
Angry is right. Our guys have been dismantling it bomb by bomb these past few months, and it ain't exactly a milk run.
But the withdrawal of $50m in assistance will not affect funds used for the clean-up at the Chernobyl nuclear power station.
We're angry, not stupid.
Relations between Washington and Kiev became troubled when a former bodyguard to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma arrived in the US with a tape suggesting Mr Kuchma authorised the sale of the Kolchuga radar system to Iraq.
One of these days politicans are going to learn about taping themselves.
Ukraine has repeatedly denied that it sold the system, which detects enemy aircraft but does not emit a signal the aircraft can detect.
What is this, infra-red?
|Likely some kind of laser system, like costs you money on I-95... |
But it failed to convince a team of US and UK experts who investigated the alleged deal with Saddam Hussein's regime last year.
"It wasn't us! Honest! It was the French! I mean, look at us, we're a
bass-ackwards struggling shithole country!"
State Department spokesman Louis Fintour said the US policy review still backed a "stable democratic market-oriented Ukraine". "At the same time, it acknowledges the recent difficulties in our bilateral relationship, including the matter of Kolchuga transfers to Iraq, where the Ukrainian Government has not satisfactorily answered our questions," he said.
Diplo-speak for "get yer shit together or face the consequences."
"We will be looking at adjustments in our ongoing assistance programme to bolster support for democratic reform in Ukraine." Because of the Kolchuga dispute, the US has already suspended $55m in aid to Ukraine - about 35% of the total funds pledged under the Freedom Support Act.
This shows you that Kuchma is a blinking idiot. My math makes that about $150 million a year, just in direct aid. He's throwing this away for an Iraqi contract worth what?
Posted by: Steve White 2003-02-01