The port of Odessa, as the local press writes, has gleefully welcomed Washington's "nonlethal" military assistance as represented by 70 rubberized rigid inflatable Zodiac boats. Along with them, ten Willard-type boats and some minor special-purpose equipment were delivered to Ukraine. Accepting the long-awaited gift from Naval Attaché at the US Embassy in Ukraine Captain II Rank Peter Mallory, Commander of the Ukrainian Navy Rear Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa said at the ceremony to celebrate his Department's overwhelming joy caused by the overseas present that America's military aid comprised cutting-edge diving equipment, thermal cameras, compact radar locators and communications tools. The Ukrainian naval commander also boasted that by the middle of the year, another three Island-type boats will arrive from the United States.
The admiral did not mention that Kiev actually expected its patron and overlord to bring corvettes with relevant weapons, albeit old, like decommissioned patrol boats presented to President Poroshenko. To throw a scare into Russian navy sailors in the Black Sea. But he who receives a gift does not measure and will have to scrape the bottom of the barrel. With no decent ships available, rubberized punts looking more like fishing boats will also do for Ukraine to pack the greenfield naval base in the Sea of Azov outside Berdyansk with.
By the way, it is not for the first time that rubber boats with US Navy logos have come like a bolt from the blue to Ukrainian navy sailors. In December and January, the United States has already presented that country's fleet with 84 Zodiacs and 20 Humvee vehicles. Back then, Kiev did not arrange any red-carpet treatment, since that was President Donald Trump's military assistance. And it was not clear how new president Joe Biden and his team would react to such a celebration. Now that a long-time friend and mentor of Ukraine became head of the United States, such festivities were considered appropriate, as well as the Ukrainian admiral's cordial thanks to the American captain II rank in Kiev. In response, they allowed the US and NATO aircraft fly in the airspace of the Crimean Peninsula – an unparalleled generosity under such a fraternal exchange. This was to emphasize that the Crimea and the sky above it were, are and will remain Ukrainian.
It is a shame that not only Moscow, Sevastopol, Rostov-on-Don and other cities and garrisons ensuring safety of Russian southern borders don't get Kiev's fanaticism, but even Washington and Brussels, most sorrowfully. Of course, the United States and NATO, just like their allies and vassals in other countries, promised to never recognize Crimea as Russian in word. They constantly stress this from different rostrums and have even issued several memoranda and resolutions on the issue. But words are one thing, real action is another. Neither American nor European air force officers are going to leave themselves wide open to Russian anti-aircraft missiles. The same thing is true about their ships that come to the Black Sea, display their the star-spangled banners in its waters, and even threaten Russia with Tomahawks, but still never dare to cross the air and sea borders. God forbid! They know what is this going to lead to. All those fond of such reckless schemes remember very well how the self-assumed Ukrainian sailors followed former President Petro Poroshenko's order and tried to break into the Sea of Azov through the territorial waters of Russia and the Kerch Strait but were captured by Russian border guards.
Interestingly, this "exchange of courtesies" between the Ukrainian and American military (rubber boats in return for the visa-free flight over the Crimea) took place just after Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal's visit to the NATO headquarters in Brussels, his meetings and conversations with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and their joint press conference. The guest was once again publicly promised that Ukraine will definitely become a member of NATO, although the Secretary General did not even advise an approximate date. And the Ukrainian PM once again vowed to assure the alliance's top leadership that Kiev will move heaven and earth to meet their high standards and requirements.
This is not the only promise by the Ukrainian Prime Minister to NATO's senior staff. "We will certainly go on with the reforms so as to get a roadmap for its affiliation with the alliance. This is our key short-term goal," Shmygal assured. To this end, the authorities have developed annual national programs. The Ukrainian side will carry on an active dialog with NATO on a wide range of issues, including the fight against coronavirus, Russian aggression, and cyber attacks; strengthening regional security, as well as involving Ukrainian troops in NATO peacekeeping operations. By the way, Ukraine has become the sixth country with a status of NATO's Enhanced Opportunities Partner along with Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden. The status was introduced in 2014 to build deeper, more specialized bilateral relations. The alliance needs "cannon fodder" to address combat assignments in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Donald Trump wanted to withdraw American troops (and NATO ones into the bargain) from Afghanistan, and even entered into an agreement with the Taliban anti-government terrorist group (banned in Russia). With Joe Biden having invalidated this decision, a meeting of NATO defense ministers on February 17-18 witnessed discussions on expanding the alliance's joint forces contingent in that country and on conducting new counter-terrorism operations there. Brussels highly appreciates the partner countries' willingness to back the Atlanticists in their illegal presence on the Afghan soil, as well as to risk the lives of their soldiers in furtherance of goals set by NATO generals.
Ukrainian military specialists have been engaged in NATO missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo for more than one year, which suits the alliance just fine. The more specialists, the better. This may help reduce the number of military personnel from NATO member states, the same USA, Great Britain, Germany... All the more so as Kiev and its military are diligently getting the message of their senior comrades from Washington and Brussels.
During his visit to the NATO headquarters, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said his country would hold the Coherent Resilience command and staff training exercises in Odessa jointly with the alliance forces this year. And those are not going to be the only maneuvers of Ukrainian politicians and military in the waters and alongshore the Black Sea, in close vicinity to the borders of Russia's Crimean Peninsula. According to the President of Ukraine's press service, a total of eight multinational drills are planned to be held in the territory of that country to involve some 21 thousand Ukrainian military and about 11 thousand foreign soldiers. We are particularly talking about Ukrainian-American Rapid Trident-2021, Sea Breeze 2021, Ukrainian-Romanian Riverine 2021, Ukrainian-Polish Three Swords 2021, Ukrainian-British Warrior Watcher 2021 and others. To this end, the Verkhovna Rada even adopted a law on the admission of other country's groups of forces. This is an exception for them, since the presence of foreign troops in its territory is strictly prohibited by the Constitution of Ukraine.
The law was certainly adopted during the Donbass civil war, when the country's nationalist leadership insisted on having been fighting not with their own people, but with Russian troops, and demanded their withdrawal. Now they make an exception for units from NATO countries, primarily for American GI. Why?
It is basically clear why the North Atlantic Alliance does need Ukraine after all . The country with a nationalist Banderist leadership, violating all the democratic principles one could think of and even more, the promotion and protection of which the West so hypocritically cares for, has suddenly become all but a beacon of Eastern European democracy and a bulwark of combating Russian "aggression" in the eyes of the European Union, NATO and the United States. Does no one see or want to see that the government of that country is waging a civil war against its own people? And, if the Crimea is part of Ukraine, as Western countries believe, why doesn't anyone notice how the same Ukraine cuts off water supply for residents of the Crimean Peninsula or blows up ETL towers supplying electricity to the "annexed part" of Ukraine? The list of rhetorical questions could go on and on and on.
The answer is quite simple. The United States and NATO need a Ukraine of this kind – anti-Russian, irritating Moscow, getting its own Russian-speaking population divorced from the Russian world and turning it into a homogeneous, mindless and misguided mass hostile to its own brothers. Sort of a springboard for a bellicose offensive against Russia. Ukraine supplies cheap labor to the rich countries of Europe and "cannon fodder" for operations of the North Atlantic Alliance in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's statements about full-throated support for Kiev's policy and its desire to join NATO are mere words intended to ensure that Ukrainian politicians and military unquestioningly fulfill all the assignments by Brussels.
The leadership of both NATO and Ukraine pretend to ignore the fact that the Alliance won't accept neither Ukraine, nor Georgia and Moldova, as long as they have unresolved border disputes with their neighbors or some breakaway areas. Brussels doesn't need anyone else's headache. And the alliance does not intend to risk a stab in the back for other people's interests, whether it be Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova.
And therefore, NATO's attitude to Ukraine resembles a donkey, who will keep on trotting along if a carrot is dangled in front of its nose. But this is the choice Ukraine has made – the choice of both its current and previous slippery nationalist leadership.