Pentagon Confirms US Troops Will Deploy to Ukraine in Spring

Unknown Number of Troops to Carry Out Training in Lviv

US Army commander in Europe Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges visited Ukraine today, as Pentagon officials confirmed plans to send troops to war-torn Ukraine this spring for a “training operation.”

ukraineOfficials say the number of troops involved has not been determined at this time, and that the troops are part of an effort to strengthen the “rule of law” in the country.

By “rule of law,” they mean getting the Ukrainian military, which is ratcheting up its conscription, ready to crush eastern rebels, who have been demanding reforms after the new government imposed a series of harsh restrictions on the ethnic Russian east.

So far, the plans are to put the troops in Lviv, in the far west, which should keep the US forces from getting too directly into the nation’s civil war, though officials are saying this is just the “first step in further training,” which means more operations could happen, putting troops closer to the frontlines.

by Jason Ditz

Ukraine’s Neo-Fascist Right Sector Leader Dmytro Yarosh to Run for President

Ukraine’s leader of the far-right Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) paramilitary movement Dmytro Yarosh has announced his presidential bid in elections planned for 25 May.

The ultra-nationalist movement’s chairman Andriy Tarasenko said that Right Sector will also become a political party.

“Dmytro Yarosh will run for president,” he said. “We are preparing for a congress, at which the party will be renamed, and we will participate in the elections in Kyiv, the elections in all local councils, towns and villages.”

“We remain the leaders of this revolution. We are mobilising, we are preparing to react to foreign aggression,” Tarasenko added, claiming that the movement was ready for a full-scale war with Russia.

A leading figure in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Yarosh advocated a “national revolution” during the protests and dismissed ousted Viktor Yanukovich’s administration as an “internal occupational regime”.

Yarosh, who considers the far-right Svoboda “too liberal”, wants to ban both the former ruling party (Party of Regions) and the Communist Party of Ukraine.

Tarasenko distanced the movement from the pro-EU government led by interim president Oleksandr Turchinov.

“There has been no reset of power. Only the names in the government offices have changed,” he was quoted as saying.

“Our struggle is entering a peaceful phase, a political phase and that is why we are going into politics,” he said.

Anti-government protesters from far-right group "Right Sector" train in Independence Square in central Kiev in January 2014

Anti-government protesters from far-right group “Right Sector” train in Independence Square in central Kiev in January 2014

Russia opened a criminal investigation against Yarosh for incitement to extremism and terrorism.

Right Sector was condemned by the US State Department for “inflaming conditions on the streets”.

In an interview with Time magazine, Yarosh revealed that the ultra-nationalist movement had amassed a lethal arsenal of weapons.

The movement’s ideology, which rejects any foreign influence over Ukraine, borders on fascism, according to reports.

“For all the years of Ukraine’s independence, Russia has pursued a systematic, targeted policy of subjugation toward Ukraine,” Yarosh told Time. “So of course we will prepare for a conflict with them.”

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