Catherine Ashton’s swansong is creating a civil war in Ukraine

Let us be crystal clear, the violence in Ukraine that has so far left 26 people dead, is the direct result of EU meddling in the country.  To compound the uselessness of the EU, their ‘solution’ will make matters worse for the population.

The EU has long been courting Ukraine to become a candidate country.  On Ashton’s External Action website it is declared:

“The EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship with Ukraine that goes beyond mere bilateral cooperation, encompassing gradual progress towards political association and economic integration.”

Hardly an ambiguous statement.

The Ukraine represents a sizeable goal for the EU, it boasts a population of around 45 million people, and would increase the size of the Union by between 8 and 9 percent. But, the prize in Ukraine is not its people, it is its mineral resources.

Ukraine has the world’s richest iron ore deposits.

                               Iron Ore Reserve per Countries
Rank Country Reserves (Billion tons) Population (Millions) Per-capita Reserves (tons)
1 Ukraine 30 48 625
2 Brazil 29 186 156
3 Russia 25 144 174
4 Australia 24 20 1200
5 China 23 1300 18 

 

Source: US Geographic Survey

These rich iron ore reserves, located in the vicinity of Kryvyy Rih, Kremenchuk, Bilozerka, Mariupol, and Kerch, form the basis of Ukraine’s large iron and steel industry; it is the world’s eighth largest steel producer.  Combining the EU and Ukraine’s steel capacity would take the bloc’s steel production to around 193 million tonnes per year, a 22% increase. Taking the Ukraine into the EU fold could also deny Russia access to its iron ore.

Ukraine is also the fourth largest coal producer in Europe (85.8Mt excavated in 2012) after Russia, Germany and Poland, and twelfth in the world overall. With proven coal reserves of some 33.9 Billion tonnes, the Ukrainian coal industry accounts for 4 % of the total global reserves. 390 years’ worth.  However, much of the coal beds face technological challenges from the mine bed methane; some of which has been extracted already using the EU’s Joint Implementation.

 

Ukraine is Europe’s only source of manganese, and with a land mass of over 600,000 square kilometres offers extensive agricultural possibilities.  Following the successful accession of the former Communist Countries in 2005 and 2007, the EU began its eastwards reach and looked to Ukraine as a new member.

A new Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), was negotiated in 2007-2011 and initialled in 2012. On 10 December 2012, the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted the Council Conclusions on Ukraine. These affirmed the EU’s commitment to signing the Agreement as soon as Ukraine takes determined action and makes tangible progress towards achieving the benchmarks set out in the Conclusions.  On 21 November 2013, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine took a decision to suspend preparations to sign the Association Agreement.

Russia, fearing that its influence was being eroded, created the Russian Customs Union in 2010 with Belarus and Kazakhstan, and made significant overtures to Ukraine to join.  This move was directly made to sweeten Ukraine away from the EU, and came with the promise of cheap gas, which had long been the subject of disagreement between the two countries.

5 of Russia’s 12 gas pipelines to Europe are routed through the Ukraine.  The country enjoys transit fees from these, as well as discounted gas prices.  However, these pipelines are constantly at the centre of the push and pull politics between the two, and periodically Russia will threaten Ukraine over unpaid bills, and in the winter of 2005-6 the situation got so bad that supplies were cut off.  In this regard, the Ukraine is a client state of Russia, even though it is an essential route to market.  By incorporating Ukraine into a Russian sphere of influence export income becomes easier to control, while the EU sees that absorbing it as a method of controlling supplies.  Fearing greater Russian control of the gas that provides the EU with 40% of its supplies, the EU has been waving money under the nose of Ukraine’s government for years, money that is only available if Ukraine moves westwards, towards EU membership.

After continued pressure from Russia, the Ukrainian government caved in and walked away from the pre-accession agreement in November, setting in motion the rallies, counter rallies, occupations, and now deadly violence.

With its eyes on Ukraine’s natural resources and gas pipelines, the EU has deliberately been tweaking Russia’s patience.  It created a game of piggy-in-the-middle that depended upon Russia NOT seeing the EU’s interference in its neighbour for what it really is: an asset grab.

To compound the mess, the EU is now considering sanctions against Ukraine for what it sees as violations of human rights perpetrated by the Ukrainian security forces.  While there is some evidence of the police using excess force against the protesters (who let us remember were using petrol bombs, and perhaps small arms), let us be absolutely clear that the seeds of this violence were laid by the EU and its unelected Commission.

Catherine Ashton will leave Europe a worse place than she found it, of that there can be no doubt.

About Iain McKie

Iain McKie is an investment banker with over twenty years experience, with the last seven spent as a Carbon Credit specialist. He is the Isle of Wight 2015 Parliamentary Candidate Contact: Twitter | More Posts

24 Comments on Catherine Ashton’s swansong is creating a civil war in Ukraine

  1. Chris Bond // February 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm //

    It’s OK. YouGov will just do a poll in the Ukraine and find that 99.9% or Ukrainians love Catherine Ashton.
    Sorted.

  2. gunnerbear // February 20, 2014 at 4:04 pm //

    “and its unelected Commission.”

    The Commissioners are appointed by host governments….and those governments are voted in by the population.
    If you are calling that system undemocratic, then surely you’ve got to say that the PM picking anyone for any job is undemocratic as they will not have been voted in….
    ….for example…Michael Gove wasn’t elected to be SoS Education…..he was appointed by the PM.

    • Chris Bond // February 20, 2014 at 5:07 pm //

      Gove was elected by his constituency.

      • gunnerbear // February 20, 2014 at 7:04 pm //

        Granted…but he wasn’t elected to be SoS Education.

        • Chris Bond // February 21, 2014 at 5:07 am //

          Part of the electoral process vis a vis the parliamentary system is that it is understood that we vote for a representative of a party which if it achieves a majority will form a government how it sees fit, and will implement a overall vision though policy.
          I personally don’t believe this system allowed for our elected parties to transfer our sovereignty to a third party organization of unelected bureaucrats. That is beyond appalling. Its the equivalent of me gaining election on the basis of implementing a classical conservative agenda, only to turn around and impose Marxist Socialism and sign you up to membership of the United States of Eurosocialism- and then claiming I have the democratic right to do so because you voted for me.

          • Could not agree with you more – which is why I favour the Power of Recall and full PR plus boundary changes so that each MP has to command the vote of 50% of their constituents……thus the MP would be responsible to their voters not a party machine.

    • Earthenware // February 20, 2014 at 5:40 pm //

      And which elected head of government appoints the EU Commissioners?

      The point is democratic accountability. If you don’t like what Gove does then you can vote against Cameron as Prime Minister. If you don’t like the EU Commission then well, tough titty.

      • gunnerbear // February 20, 2014 at 7:05 pm //

        Fair comment but of course we can vote against the PM of the day if the PM picks a Commissioner that the voters don’t like.

  3. It is good to see UKIP speaking out about the EU’s involvement in the Ukraine.

  4. iain paton mckie // February 20, 2014 at 6:52 pm //

    Hi Gunnerbear, under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty Commissioners now have to have the approval of the European Parliament and the College of the Commission. This is in addition to the existing oath to the ‘ever closer union’. Any sense of democracy has been truly filtered out by this process.

    • gunnerbear // February 20, 2014 at 7:09 pm //

      But aren’t MEPs elected by the people? If MEPs can ‘block / not affirm’ the appointment because they disagree with the appointment….isn’t that democracy.
      Frankly, I think the UK is fast approaching the stage of ‘all in’ or ‘all out’ when it comes to the EU – I honestly can’t see how the UK can keep being so ‘semi-detached’ when it comes to the EU and the Euro.
      I’m also not sure which way any vote would go but it is pointless for UK politicians to even think that they can somehow get a ‘special deal’ for the UK when the existence of such a deal would threaten the existence of the EU itself.

  5. iain paton mckie // February 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm //

    Hi Gunnerbear, I did start an e-petition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/59156 to try and have the names of the candidates for the post of European Commissioner made public to try and open this question up to public scrutiny.

    • gunnerbear // February 20, 2014 at 7:37 pm //

      That would be brilliant but I can’t see HMG (of any colour) going for that as it would then mean that sooner or later the HoC would demand that each and every Senior Civil Service appointment could be ‘blocked’ (as per the US system) by Parliament.
      No Prime Minister wants that…..imagine the consequences on the racket that is ‘jobs for the Boys ‘n’ Girls’.

  6. chris hawkins // February 20, 2014 at 8:52 pm //

    Most Ukrainians want nothing to do with the EU but want even less to do with Russia. It is in the interests of all free nations in Europe (without the EU imposing over them) that Russian neo Soviet ambitions in Ukraine be stopped. People are dying in the hope of self determination and freedom from corruption – not to join the EU.

    • callingallcomets // February 21, 2014 at 1:14 am //

      Exactly….Ashton is a clown but please do not characterise the protestors as pawns of the EU. These people are not facing up to beatings and bullets in order to get onto the EU gravy train. They are fighting against the dead hand of Russia and want to look westward. The EU did not sow the seeds of this, anti Russian feeling, particularly in the Ukrainian speaking west has been been a constant since Stalin’s induced famine and anti kulak terror in the early 30s. I think it would be a serious error of judgement to allow UKIP to be perceived as siding with Putin’s attempt to restore the Tsarist/Soviet empire just because the EU gets involved

      • The EU is involved. It has created this situation.
        Russia is just reacting to protect its own interests.

        • callingallcomets // February 21, 2014 at 10:23 am //

          The EU is involved but “creating” is a stretch too far. This is part of a process of opposition to Russian empire building that began in Hungary in 1956 and that continued with the Orange Revolution earlier this century.
          The situation in Ukraine is extremely complex with deep historical roots – to use it as a stick to beat the EU with is naive and unwarranted and it would not serve us well to project UKIP as the party that accuses protestors of being EU quislings and the party that would encourage people to remain supine in the face of Putin’s “interests”

      • chris hawkins // February 21, 2014 at 10:48 am //

        I very much agree; fear and distrust of their own Government is by far the single largest factor motivating protestors at present. After that a desire not to be re-absorbed by a neo Soviet Eurasian Union is a factor and very low at the bottom is any thought of the EU. As for Cathy Ashton there is nothing she can do…. As Stalin once asked of the Pope “How many divisions can he put in the field?”.

    • If the EU stops meddling then the situation will calm down and the locals can sort out their differences.

      • callingallcomets // February 21, 2014 at 10:25 am //

        I would think that the situation in Kiev demonstrates that the locals are indeed trying to sort it out

  7. OriginalChris // February 21, 2014 at 10:20 am //

    Very interesting analysis by Iain McKie. Have commented on this on Coffeehouse and posted link. Thank you, Iain.

  8. Good analysis, except the Ukrainian PM didn’t sign the EU association treaty because of ‘pressure from Russia’ but because the EU made the release from jail of the previous PM, Ms Timoshenko, a precondition. That lady was jailed for the same sort of kleptocracy opponents now blame on the present PM.
    Oh – and the slight fact that this EU Treaty would have severely curtailed Ukraine’s exports to Russia, which makes a huge part of their income, while providing acres of regulation and austerity programmes might also have influenced that decision, a decision which did not please the opposition which thought free EU passports and a tiny bit of money equals freedom …
    Btw – were we asked about all that at all? Because I can’t remember that we were …

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