Empire of Lies

Interview with Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, Martin Arnold, on war in Ukraine.

SPEAKERS

Martin Arnold (Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest),
Ian Curr (4PR – Voice of the People).

Ian Curr 

Can you please introduce yourself?

Martin Arnold 

Good day. I’m Martin Arnold. I’m a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest. And I’m very concerned about what I would call Ukraine’s Kremlin problem. I could talk to you inexpertly, but at length, about things from 1721 to 1990. But I and the listener are more concerned about current issues in Ukraine.

Ian Curr 

Before we get into those current issues, could you tell our listeners a little bit about your association with Ukraine?

Martin Arnold

Well, I met up at Coorparoo state school in grade six with a Ukrainian lad, not knowing the Ukrainian language, Ukrainian religion. We are still friends Marko Pavlyshyn and I after all these years, and eventually, at a time when the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was short of priests, they would say, I became a Ukrainian, Greek Catholic priest. And for a long time, until 2008. In fact, I would explain to everybody almost straight away that although I’m a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, I’m a Queenslander and with with German ancestors and English, and Scottish.

Martin Arnold 

Q. Is Putin the unilateral source of aggression in Ukraine?

Martin Arnold 

I would say that the Putin government has wanted to destabilize the Ukrainian government, and increase its sphere of influence throughout what it describes as the former Soviet Union. I think there are a few people, Ukrainians, who are sympathetic; I suppose Yanukovych would be the name that springs to mind. But yes, I guess, the great bulk of the   … I’m sorry, what was the term you used?  Aggression?

Ian Curr 

‘(Was) Putin the unilateral source of the aggression in Ukraine?’

And when you said Yanukovych you’re talking about a former president of Ukraine?

Martin Arnold 

 I am. Yanukovych was  President of Ukraine until 2008 (2014 sic), I think when he left Kyiv in response to large public protests about his government’s refusal to implement an act of concord with the European Union; not to become part of the European Union, but just to become a corporate cooperating member, which people saw as an opposition to it if people increasingly saw this as an attempt to keep Ukraine within the Russian sphere of influence, which before Putin came to power was not I think that was particularly objected to be (a) crying wish to be independent, but it had traditional ties with Russia, but Putin’s government has been ‘revanchist‘ (= one who advocates or fights for the recovery of lost territory or status).

Ian Curr 

You mentioned there, that the European Union is heavily dependent on Russia for energy. So 46% of its coal and uranium comes from Russia. 41% of its gas (comes from RF), and 27% is oil that comes from Russian Federation.

So why would the EU want to antagonize Russia?

Martin Arnold 

Well, it doesn’t. Like Ukraine, the European Union hopes for peace, hopes to avoid  Russian Federation invasion. And, indeed, this has been a cause for, perhaps, increased the hesitance of Berlin and Paris governments from being as enthusiastic as they might be about Ukrainian independence. But it seems to me that it would be a good thing for the Greens in Europe to make a political decision and to say about energy sources and to say, oil and gas from the Russian Federation, we need to replace that with green energy as soon as possible.

Ian Curr 

Well on that, war is a great waster of fossil fuels. So that’s one reason why a war should be the last thing on the agenda, because it would mean a terrible waste of fossil fuels.

Now, when you say that the EU doesn’t wish to antagonize Russia, in the last 30 years, NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which comprises European states, they have advanced 800 miles (1300 kms) towards the Russian border in the last 30 years since the downfall of the Soviet Union.

So isn’t that an aggression?

Martin Arnold 

Let me try to answer indirectly first, I think that Mr. Putin’s raising of this demand that Ukraine should never become a member of NATO, at this time, is a bit of a furphy. The Ukrainian or Georgian membership of NATO in the near future is not on the line. NATO is very hesitant about accepting Ukraine or Georgia as a member of NATO because of the very fact that they are involved in this dispute. There is already so yes, the NATO has not expanded in the last what 15 years, and is not likely to do so in the near future. So for Putin to demand that NATO’s should renounce its its constitution, which allows other people to join this. You know what it said? A mutual defense pact is asking we as I leave the listener to think for is does that indirect answer to some extent your cover the question?

Ian Curr 

(Perhaps) We can get more into it through this means: In 2015, the there were a number of parties to the Minsk agreement. And that was in response to the fact that in 2014, there was a real crisis in Ukraine. And the parties (were) Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine. Now, what is the US and the UK doing by constantly talking up the conflict? You know, we’ve had, really, by any measure, a whole deluge since last October (2021), where there’s this talking about the amassing of troops on the Russian and Ukraine border. And we’re hearing all about talk, and it’s coming from the United States, security organizations, it’s coming in the UK, through the most mainstream publications, even the the London Review of Books (Did I invade? Do you exist? James Meek) is talking it up. So surely, the parties to the dispute? You know, under the Minsk agreement, surely they should be the ones who sought out the problem?

Martin Arnold 

The Minsk agreements were an attempt to seek peace in what most Ukrainians and their government would say would be a de facto Russian occupation of parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblast. So the

Ian Curr 

This is in the South and the Southeast, is that right?

Martin Arnold 

In the east, yes. They’re part of the highly industrialized part of Ukraine. And in 2014, there was talk amongst people of Luhansk and Donetsk about, you know, perhaps we would do better as an autonomous region of Ukraine rather than rather than as a full member or an ordinary member of the Ukrainian Federation. But my understanding is that amongst the people of Luhansk and Donetsk, who are not in the occupied zones portions are amongst the most patriotic in the country. They see the the the incursion as (being) on their land! That this is not a an attempt to free the people of Donetsk and Luhansk from oppression but an attempt to incorporate them effectively in the Russian Federation.

Ian Curr 

Why would Putin mobilize a vast force on the border of Russia and Ukraine out of the blue?

Martin Arnold 

It was connected with his demand that Ukraine should never join NATO  … should agree never to joining NATO. It I think that the purpose of but, to some extent, I guess this this was a military exercise, its troops want to have a military exercise, but it’s a military exercise in such a way that it could involve all sorts of invasion of the other country, annexed country rather than a military exercise around Moscow, say, for example, which would not immediately involve invasion of another country. Sorry, I’ve lost my train of thought. …

Ian Curr 

In 2021, which is the date you remember, there was an operation called ‘Defender Spring’, conducted by the United States and NATO, involving 28,000 troops in coordination with US naval operations in the Black Sea, which is to the south of the Crimea. And, of course, for the Russians, the Black Sea is absolutely a core strategic interest, because it provides them with southern warm water ports. From the Soviet Union on Russia has always had a very major interest in that area. So the NATO can, and the US conducted these exercises around the Black Sea. So maybe that is one reason why Putin would come out and start doing his own exercises in his own country, you know, like he is not conducting these exercises inside Ukraine. However, the US and NATO have conducted exercises in the Crimea, and in part of Ukraine itself. So what I’m really getting at is here is… Is the expansion of NATO non-negotiable?

Martin Arnold 

Ukrainians would still dearly love to be a neutral state. However, as Putin’s aggression continues, they and their government have lost faith in Putin’s intention, assurances that he does not intend to invade Ukraine or to annex Ukraine or to annex parts of Ukraine any more than he has already done. I should say that the Black Sea is also a strategic great strategic interest to the Ukrainian government. Like part of the the difficulty of the RF’s  occupation of Crimea is that it now has forces on both sides of the main waterway of Ukraine. So it has been imperative to from the Ukrainian government’s point of view for freedom of shipping through these through this strait which previously, which previously … this some river mouth, I should say.

Ian Curr 

So when you say, occupation of Crimea,  section of the Crimea was gifted by the Ukrainian government to the Russian Federation under a lease arrangement. So both strategic interests, that of Russia and of Ukraine were protected there.

Martin Arnold 

No, no, I wouldn’t put it that way…. In the 1990s, the Ukrainian government hoped for a peace dividend. And it renounced the use of nuclear weapons in return from an agreement from the Russian Federation, and other states that they would respect Ukrainian integrity and sovereignty. There was also an old, quite big Soviet naval base in Crimea.  Ukraine found itself in possession of this naval base, which it didn’t want, wish to spend money on, on maintaining. And for that reason, it leased it to the Russian Federation, which did I, I’m sure we deeply regret that decision. Lau but of course, this was in the time of before, before Putin came to power, good relations with the Russian Federation. Yeah, I guess that answers the question to

Ian Curr 

The Ukrainian economy was very strongly reliant upon the Russians because, for example, nearly 50% of all of its electricity needs came from the old Soviet nuclear power plants. And then, I think, in 2008, the Ukrainian government signed an agreement with Westinghouse for their plants to be supplied by uranium, and for them to be upgraded. That then alleviated their dependence upon Russia for electricity.

And so that you can see that there was an attempt to break free of any kind of dependence on the Russian Federation. But Ukraine is dependent on the Russian Federation, as is Europe, because at the moment, most of the energy supplies that feed Europe comes through Ukraine. And of course, the Russians have been trying to overcome that by sending gas down through the Baltic Sea. But that that hasn’t been completed yet. So still, the Ukrainian state is very dependent upon both Russia and the European countries for royalty payments. So it can’t just isolate itself without looking at these economic realities is what I’m saying. So a lot of the moves that are being made, some of them may be clumsy, but they’re response to the hard reality of economic times. On the most part, the people are very poor, even though they’re quite an advanced country. They have actually mentioned a lot of heavy industry, from the old Soviet days. So there’s peaceful things that are being done, which could be upset if Ukraine makes a wrong move, so to speak. And that’s why I asked the question about NATO expansion, is that, you know, the sovereignty of Ukraine is not just dependent upon the Kremlin. And what it does, it’s also dependent upon what NATO and the United States does. So you know, it’s a tricky situation for the Ukrainian government to be in.

Martin Arnold 

Yes. One commentator thought that the best response Kiev and NATO could have given to his (Putin’s) demand that Ukraine never join NATO would be to decline to answer. Practically. This is not on the cards for the moment and leaping ahead, I think the economic situation … I’m not an economist. But I imagine that the best thing that NATO could do for Ukraine is to say, to say not in response to Mr. Putin demands, but generally that there are no plans at the moment for any countries to join NATO further. And for the European this thing the European Union could do would be to say, well, we will accelerate attempts to integrate Ukraine into the European Union. I think this would have this would have a greater deterrent effect on the Soviet … I guess, I don’t know quite why I think this, I somehow suspect this would have a greater deterrent effect on Mr. Putin’s invading Ukraine, then Ukraine being put on the list to join NATO.

Ian Curr 

Okay, now, that ends my series of questions relating to the Tariq Ali essay. Now, I have some of my own questions that I’m very curious about in the second half of this interview.

The State of Israel is a sort of a natural ally of Ukraine. But there is a real contradiction in that, because, before the second world war during the Second World War, and afterwards, there has been a strong anti-Semitic sentiment in Ukraine. And so, if Israel comes out now and supports the US and NATO and says, Look, we’re going to oppose Putin. It gets caught in this bind. It’s, it’s supporting a country, which is one of has one of the worst records of anti-Semitism in the world.

Martin Arnold  

How do you measure one of the worst records of anti-semitism in the world?

Ian Curr 

They helped kill Jewish people

Martin Arnold 

it’s a sort of a rhetorical question. Ukraine certainly had a larger proportion of Jewish residents than Russia. I don’t know if Ukrainian anti-semitism was worse or more than anti-semitism amongst Russians or Poles or Germans, or at least those Germans who sympathize with Hitler …

Ian Curr 

Well, I say it expressed itself in World War Two by Ukraine being divided in that a section of the country supported Hitler against the Ukrainians that didn’t want to have any part of fascism.

Martin Arnold 

You’re perhaps thinking of Stepan Bandera’s government as you speak about this?

Ian Curr 

I’m not talking about the government, I’m talking about the people. Of course, you would expect Russian people of Russian culture language to be anti-fascist. And the reason why they’re anti-fascist is because of their experience during the Second World War, where they lost over 22 million people. So you would expect that …

Martin Arnold 

Ukraine, I think suffered worse than Russia. In terms of deaths in this second World War, the Jewish population was almost eradicated. The fighting happened more on Ukrainian territory than on Russian territory. That’s one observation

Ian Curr 

There is a slight anomaly in what you’re saying there in that Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union then. So the, the Nazi forces were fighting on Ukrainian territory, they were fighting the communists led by Stalin. So you know, that’s that that was the situation and, you know, they lost a lot of people.

Martin Arnold 

Yeah, but you we’ve, this is part of part of, I guess, a kind of trick that goes back before even Putin, you know, to assimilate Russia with the Soviet Union. So, the Soviet Union is, according to its constitution … this federation of republics … It suited Russian dominance of the Soviet Union to allow people in the West to say, instead of the Soviet Union to say, Russia, our great ally Russia, in in the fight against fascism …

Ian Curr 

but we shouldn’t forget that in the Soviet bloc … Okay. Russia was the largest … but Ukraine was the second largest, by far.

Martin Arnold 

Well, yeah. And that’s why I’m saying that it suffered hugely, worse than Russia in the Second World War. I have read accounts of outrageous behavior by Ukrainians. I have read accounts of some Ukrainians also thinking that the Nazis might be better than the Stalinists. And soon changing their mind by and large, after they encountered the Nazis, because in the Slavic countries, it rapidly became obvious that the Nazis regarded the Slavic peoples as second class citizens. They weren’t non-people like Jews and Gypsies. But they were subject people and what, so no Pole, no Ukrainian, none of the Slavic peoples was enamored of this kind of arrangement.

Ian Curr 

There has been a historical divide in Ukraine between the West and Central areas, and which tend to be more nationalistic, and the east and southeast, the Donbass regions, which are Russian speaking and more sympathetic to (the) Russians.  So, It you know, when you talk about the Ukrainian people, you often refer to it as sort of just one block. But, you know, like in every population, there’s a lot of diversity and it’s very marked regionally. And if you look at the elections from 2000 onwards, you’ll see that if the government in Kyiv is sympathetic to Russian Federation, you get the people in the Donbass region tend to vote for it. And the people in the in the central and the western area, they vote against it. And so, you know, you get that difference of opinion within Ukraine itself. So what I’m maybe suggesting is that Ukraine crisis is not a NATO, US, Russian crisis at all. It’s a Ukraine crisis, where there’s a civil war going on within the country.

Martin Arnold 

Ukraine since well, since it achieved independence, really, for the first time since 1750. In in 1990, has strenuously adopted a policy that those who live in Ukraine are Ukrainians. In one sense of course, there are Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian fluently. There are Ukrainians who speak Ukrainian occasionally, there are Ukrainians who don’t speak Ukrainian at all. In this respect, perhaps you could see an analogy with Ireland, you know, there are lots of Irish people, I think, who are pretty weak on this command of Irish. No more or less Irish for that. In terms of ethnicity, you know, there are there are Tartars there are people who say I’m just Ukrainian. There are people who say, I’m mostly Russian, but I have a Ukrainian grandmother, or people who say I’m Jewish people who say, people identify in various ways within Ukraine as different having different ethnicities. I don’t think that people in eastern Ukraine …. Well, I would, I would bet my bottom dollar that people in Western Ukraine do not wish to become part of Putin’s Russian Federation. if faced with a choice of that, or identification with the European Union, they would choose the latter. But yeah, Eastern or Western. Ukrainians would like to have close relations with all their neighbors. It just seems difficult at the moment with the Russian Federation.

Ian Curr 

You’re a priest, the Ukrainian priest and your parishes in the area of Wooloongabba. And I remember when the Gabba before the South East freeway was erected, and it had a strong Russian and Ukrainian presence in that. And a lot of the culture of that area was wrapped up in that … I remember and to this day, there’s, you have the Russian Hall there. And there have been a number of Russian, Ukrainian and Serbian churches in that whole area. And even so, the freeway even though it divided the community, it still was not totally successful in doing that. Now, in your own parish, of course, a war in Ukraine would have a devastating effect on the people, your parishioners. And what are the sentiments that you’re getting from them about the current crisis? Is it similar to what the Ukrainian government is saying where it’s saying that? Look, it’s it’s not such a big deal. We’ve lived with this for a long time. We think that that some of the pundits have overreacted, the President came out recently and even said we think talking up this crisis is not a very good thing for our country because … we’re losing billions of dollars, is it? So what’s the on the ground? What are the people saying?

Martin Arnold 

They’re concerned about their relatives in Ukraine. They’re concerned for the for the future .. concerned to try to have a resolution … yes, there is a kind of weariness I said somewhere recently, people are horrified at this further annexation of or occupation of these regions … official occupation of these parts of Donbass and Donetsk, I amended it to horrified isn’t quite the right word. Even people in Ukraine and even people like me, in you know, living outside Ukraine have been living with Putin’s. Irritation of Ukraine with occasional rises into actual aggression since after the first five or six years of his being in office, and so we’re not horrified. Exactly. We’re just saddened. And, yes, hope, hope for two to play our cards right, that our government can negotiate for the best result under the circumstances.

Ian Curr 

Recently, a group called the independent and peaceful Australian network sent an open letter to both the defense minister pain and to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, besieging them with de with a very close relationship that they have with the secretary of state from the United States is was visited recently with the Prime Minister of the of the UK, beseech them to make a call for peace. And they itemize some of the things that they want to see happen. Number one, the Minsk agreement, it should be worked out amongst the parties to the Minsk agreement in 2015. They say on no account, should there be any talk of nuclear weapons being used? They should put that off the table completely. That, that basically, they that in that in that letter, they’re trying to get the Prime Minister to rather than he and his defense minister, gotten to try to get them to tone down the rhetoric and to use their close relationships with these other with the United States and Britain to try to get them to tone down their rhetoric. Would you now, over 400 people have already signed that letter? Would you support a letter like that?

Martin Arnold 

I am. I think generally speaking, the it is unhelpful for defense ministers of third party countries, countries that are not well even countries which are connected your data to make statements on Foreign Relations, they should leave this to their foreign ministers and premiers. The I suppose I’d like to speak a little bit about the Minsk agreement by by recognizing these little parts of Luhansk these parts of Luhansk and Donetsk that are occupied by Russian Federation sympathizers If you could put it that way. And now actually, with Russian troops officially present in them. Mr. Putin has brought the Minsk accords to an end because the process of the Minsk accords was for our forces to withdraw from Luhansk and Donetsk and for the government in the key of government to arrange elections for an assembly which might vote for autonomy within the within Ukraine. That’s now come to an end. But yes, Ukraine looks for the support of, especially the large players in the North Atlantic and Europe. Berlin, Paris, London and Washington. And yes, certainly Ukraine. Yes, we certainly would welcome Mr. Blinken, Mr. Biden, prefacing all their statements with, of course, the NATO hopes for peace, as this would that this would be this will be, I think, an improvement of their rhetoric.

Ian Curr 

Just in closing, now, I’d like you to comment on the really broad issues here, rather than focusing just on Ukraine, because it’s, you know, no country is in isolation. Is it possible that what we’re witnessing is the decline of a great empire. And that empire is that of the United States. And the reason why there is that decline is because the economic powerhouses of the world now have shifted from the west to the east. The Chinese economy now is at least twice as large as the United States. Both it and the countries that surround it, that are engaged in that economic revolution, almost, that all the focus is moving from Europe to Asia. And so really, what we’re witnessing here is a rather unusual thing for a country such as our own, where we have fought and died in wars in Europe. And that will never happen again, Australia will never again, commit troops to a war in Europe. It’s because we’re not within the economic sphere. It’s not as important to us as Asia. So is it possible that this is really a total furphy, this crisis? You know, people saying there’s a possibility of another big war. Maybe it is a total furphy because the United States will never commit to defending Ukraine, and nor will the major economic giants of Europe because they are so dependent upon Russia for their energy.

Martin Arnold 

Well, to respond to the second part, first. Give me a moment to think. I suppose, responding again, indirectly. I gather from BBC World Service that Mr. Putin has now upped his call from asking that Ukraine should renounce joining NATO ever to Ukraine in addition becoming demilitarized. I leave it to the listener whether to think whether If Ukraine were to renounce not only its nuclear weapons, but all its armed forces, whether the Russian Federation would respect this and say, Oh, well, yes, of course, now we have a neutral Ukraine, which has no weapons, we will of course not, not take any more interest in its internal affairs.

Ian Curr 

From Putin’s point of view, that’s the logical thing to say, because it’s forever insisted that NATO not expand the east and that they, they wanted these buffer states, which they, because of Putin’s own incompetence, and the incompetence of Boris Yeltsin, in particular, they allowed NATO to move those 800 miles east, and, as you pointed out, even make states on their border members of NATO, you know, Latvia and Lithuania …

Martin Arnold 

the Russian television to Russia today. I just noticed yesterday on its website has a category there are two categories stood out to my attention. One was Russia and the post-Soviet space, and the second was: the world. It’s not an accident that Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are amongst the staunchest supporters of Ukrainian independence. They know and Georgia for that matter, they know that there are people in the Putin himself, perhaps there are people in the Putin entourage who think that all of the old Soviet country should be in control in either alliance as a client state or in the direct control of Moscow.

Ian Curr 

Just a caution there about the accuracy of the BBC,  the BBC is not averse to politicizing it’s news service and commentary (mentions the invasion of Southern Ossetia). So you got to be pretty careful.

Martin Arnold 

Well, yes. I would like to speak to my friend Marco about the matter, you raise your speaking of the, at the 2014 15 agitation. But if these were Georgian fruits, I feel sure that they came under the inspiration of the Russian Federation.  George, you

Ian Curr 

But you just said Georgia supported Ukrainian independence.

Martin Arnold 

Well, I think that the, I guess I was speaking inaccurately, but I think the Georgian Government is having its own difficulties with the Russian Federation. It is, I can’t imagine it would say believe that if Putin got Ukraine, he would then give up on his his designs on Georgia. Hmm. But yeah …

Ian Curr 

It was the birthplace of Stalin.

Martin Arnold 

But to true to your general question, yeah.

Ian Curr 

Decline of empire.

Martin Arnold 

Yes. I wish I could conjure up the details. But I was talking to an economist friend by Michael Kennedy. The other day. And if I’m remembering his impression correctly, you know that the the per capita GDP in China is not is quite a bit less than per capita GDP in in the United States. Because it’s such a big population that it is it is. Has this enormous GDP which is a significant thing in itself, hey, but

Ian Curr 

Well, the economic miracle of China is that it took peasants who were terribly poor in the space of a couple of generations. It took them from a per capita income, you know, very low into, I think it’s now about 20,000. US dollars, whereas the per capita income of the United States is above 50 … to go from poverty, to, you know, to, to that level of income, in the space of a generation or two, is a remarkable achievement for the Chinese to get that. And so, and who’s to say that it won’t continue?

Martin Arnold 

Well, Michael Kennedy, perhaps you should have an interview with Michael, if you could, because he points out that, that many countries have gone through this cycle of transfer or from subsistence of subsistence laborers becoming involved in industrial, secondary industry labor. And there’s usually a point where this slows down quite, quite dramatically.

Ian Curr 

Of course, China is a capitalist country, it is dependent upon them going from industrial to tertiary (development). And that they have done that, you know, they have moved into that area of, you know, where they are really a powerhouse in the computing world, for example. They manufacture a lot of, not just hardware, they manufacture a lot of software as well. So and they it with their belt and road projects, to places like Kazakhstan, and places. You know, the road West, for China, the heavy industry is going to be in those in the ‘Stan’ countries, and they’re trying to go to the tertiary level of, of capitalist industrial progress. So that yes, yeah. So they’re going beyond what Michael’s saying they’re not, they’re no longer just going from subsistence to industrial. They they’ve gone past that.

Martin Arnold 

Well, yes. Perhaps you wouldn’t want to use this portion of the interview? Because I’ve been? Yeah, I agree with in the sense that I think China is a great superpower, hey, now. And in the period from 1990, until now, it seemed that the United States was the pre-eminent great superpower. That Germany, Britain, France, the EU, collectively, were was a was up a big economic unit, but didn’t have the, as a military and industrial center didn’t have the pre-eminence of the United States. And well, I don’t think it is a good thing that the Xi government is challenging, flat, free evidence. But I think it’s a good thing, that the United States is not pre evident on its own. It’s a good thing for well, it’s destabilizing for the world. But it’s a good thing for the world.

Ian Curr 

Well, given the shift. I think that it’s insane for the United States or NATO, to die on a hill in Ukraine, especially given the fact that they need Russia, Russia is where the Europe, Europeans get their energy from if they want to compete economically, with China, which is what they’re trying to do. They need Russia, they should not be looking for reasons to get into a fight with the Russian Federation.

Martin Arnold 

So far. This part I would include in the interview … so far the Ukrainian government, the key of government has not asked for any apart from minor, you know, troops, advisory kind of troops. Any foreign support. The President has used the phrase we will provide the boots on the ground. So, at the moment, there is a no requests from the Ukrainian government for any other any other government to actually provide troops for Ukraine?

Ian Curr 

Well, that’s an argument you’d have to take up with Tariq Ali, because he says that the US and Great Britain and NATO are supplying arms to Ukraine.

Martin Arnold 

Oh, yes. But we asked for support. Mostly, we have to buy them. But, yes, we’re willing to take that risk. But as for you know, we are hoping that by maintaining the possibility of a credible resistance, even if not an over an unsuccessful resistance to a major Russian invasion, by the fact that the occupation would be fiercely contested by the people. That and by the threat of economic sanctions by the West. The Russian Federation would hold off from any major incursion … that’s out.

Ian Curr 

Well, it would wreck the country.  Is there anything else you’d like to add? Martin?

Martin Arnold 

I’d like to thank you for your effort in trying to get me to order my thoughts a little bit on this matter.

Ian Curr 

Well, I’ve gone from knowing virtually nothing about Ukraine, only about Chernobyl is all I knew to to you know, really two weeks of study in the period of preparing for this interview, I’ve learned a lot and it’s a lot to be sympathetic to the people both at home in Ukraine and also here in the Wooloongabba. They, you know, hopefully it will not come to a war.

Martin Arnold 

Yes, yes, indeed.

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