May 20, 2017 - No. 18
Canada-Ukraine Defence Agreement
A "Rich, Mutually
Beneficial" Arms Trade
One of the main features of the Defence Agreement
between Canada and Ukraine signed on April 3
is the neo-liberal arrangements regarding arms
production and the global arms trade. These arrangements are taking
place within the conditions of intensified inter-imperialist rivalry to
monopolize the global arms trade and the expansion of the theatre of
operations of the U.S.-NATO bloc not only in Eastern Europe but also in
the Middle East. The AFP news agency reports that Defence Minister
Harjit Sajjan "also said [the Defence Agreement] was a step toward
liberalizing arms sales to Ukraine, which are currently restricted. The
accord is 'a very important step before [we] get to that,' he said." In
a Department of National Defence (DND) release, he stated it "helps us
continue to develop our rich, mutually beneficial relationships."
The agreement codifies,
legitimizes and opens the door to government funding of private arms
deals that have already been negotiated between giant arms monopolies
of Canada and Ukraine. It marks the latest stage in the accelerated
rapprochement between the two countries' military and security
establishments in recent years. This relationship, with typically overt
and covert features, is undertaking increasing strategic significance
with a number of important partnerships forged in the
military-industrial and educational sectors.
On the Canadian side, CBC reported on March 4 that
"Canadian companies are also finding plenty of opportunity as Ukraine
retools its defence industry. Pratt & Whitney Canada, Esterline/CMC
Electronics, IMP Aerospace, and L-3 Wescam all have joint projects with
Ukroboronprom," the Ukrainian state-owned defence consortium.
Equally, the privatization of Ukroboronprom and the
increase of Ukraine's share of the global arms trade constitutes a main
agenda of the Poroshenko government. A state-owned authority
established in December 2010 to handle the development and procurement
of combat hardware, Ukroboronprom directs the consolidation of the
Ukrainian arms industry, along with state arms exporter Ukrspetsexport.
In the wake of the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited
one of the biggest military-industrial complexes in the world,
employing over three million people at more than 3,000 enterprises
across the republic. Twenty-six years later a mere 134 such enterprises
-- 123 state enterprises and nine joint stock corporations employing
less than 100,000 people -- are still at work.
Private agreements have already been inked for the
of aircraft engines by Pratt & Whitney Canada through the agency
of Ukraine to Saudi Arabia for the manufacture of a new military
cargo aircraft for the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force, as well as
a new electronic warfare and surveillance aircraft, TML
Weekly has learned.
The agreements do not provide for the supply of weapons
Ukraine, nor do they assist in the so-called defence of the coup
government. They provide for the export of modernized designs of
Soviet-era Antonov military cargo planes by Ukraine for
production in Saudi Arabia, a U.S. client feudal dictatorship
that is waging a brutal war of aggression against Yemen and
supplying insurgents in Syria and Iraq.
Here is what we know:
On July 4, 2014, just six weeks after assuming the
presidency of the U.S.-backed coup government, Petro Poroshenko
Roman Romanov to head the Ukroboronprom with instructions to convert
what was left of its production after the sanctions against Russia to
meet standards dictated by NATO, to integrate it into the NATO arms
trade, and to corporatize the publicly-owned conglomerate in the
service of private capital. "From July till December, 2014 to the list
of the international partners of concern 20 new countries were added.
The concern began negotiations on cooperation with such companies as
Airbus, Textron, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Thales."
Poroshenko is, of course, a known oligarch who made his
fortune by stealing the assets of the country, selling them on the
foreign market and granting concessions to foreigners in Ukraine.
According to the rating of the Ukrainian edition of Forbes magazine, he ranks sixth
among the richest oligarchs and manages assets worth $1.3 billion. With
Leninska Kuznya, Poroshenko is active in the shipbuilding and armaments
industry although his shipyard in Crimea, the Sevastopol Sea Factory
with three drydocks, has been nationalized.
Panama Papers leaks suggested his companies had set up offshore
holdings even as his army was fighting -- and losing -- a
decisive battle with the Donbass troops in August 2014.
On September 3, 2014 NATO convened a conference on the
occasion of the "International Defence Industry Exhibition" held
in Kielce, Poland to discuss the future of Ukraine's arms
industry in the aftermath of Kiev's pro-western coup d'état. On
March 4, 2015 Ukroboronprom announced that it was working with
NATO's codification and standardization teams to improve its
industrial capabilities. A
"roadmap," designating the path toward the
Ukraine arms industry's adaption of NATO's standards by 2018 was
then established on March 31, at an international seminar of
experts. "Participating at the conference were experts from
Poland and the Czech Republic, who had had the experience of
making the identical transformations of their own arms
industries, back in the 1990s," German-foreign-policy.com
The standardization of their military products with
produced in and exported by the NATO combat alliance was
accompanied with U.S. sanctions on supplying equipment to Russia.
This adversely affected such major industrial centres of
southeastern Ukraine as Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv and
Nikolaev. (In the post-war period Nikolaev, for example, had
become one of the shipbuilding centres of the USSR, with three
shipyards: Black Sea, 61 Kommunara, and Okean. It was the sole
supplier of heavy gas turbine engines to the Russian navy.) The
U.S. sanctions forced the Ukrainian arms industries to
permanently shut themselves off from Russian companies, with
which they had been closely cooperating up to 2013. 
The Saudi Deal
On May 12, 2015 the SE Antonov company, Ukraine's chief
aircraft company which is based in Kiev, announced it had signed
an agreement with Taqnia Aeronautics Company -- a subsidiary of
the Saudi Company for Development and Investment (Taqnia) -- to
develop and manufacture a light cargo plane (Antonov-132) in
The announcement cites "the
aircraft's ability to
many tasks including the transport of materials and equipment,
and transporting personnel and soldiers, parachuting, medical
evacuation, reconnaissance, maritime surveillance and other
military and civilian tasks."
The AN-132 project itself is a "vehicle to achieve
objectives," states Antonov. "In the near-term there is a
worldwide market for about 1,000 of this type of aircraft," an
Antonov representative told AIN in late 2015. "Therefore, we
think we can capture about 300 of those orders. The KSA
requirement alone is for 80 aircraft or more, and then additional
numbers can be built at the KACST site for third countries."
The transformation of the AN-32 -- a Soviet-era
has largely only been operated by traditional users of Russian
and Ukrainian-made aircraft -- into the AN-132 as a light
transport aircraft that can be configured for military and civil
applications is so that it will "appeal to almost any nation,
including those that have only procured western aircraft in the
past" -- the members and "partners" of the U.S.-NATO bloc.
The aim of NATO's "Southern Strategy" adopted at the
Warsaw Summit in July 2016 and personally endorsed by Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau and then-Minister of International Trade Chrystia
Freeland who attended the Summit, is precisely to exclusively equip and
provide "partners" such as Saudi Arabia with training for waging war in
the Arab World.
Taqnia is owned totally by a public investment fund of
ruling al Saud clan, sponsored by the Council of Economic
Affairs and Development; it is chaired by HRH Prince Mohammed bin
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, deputy Crown Prince and Defence
Minister and Special Adviser to the custodian of the Two Holy
Mosques. The CEO of Taqnia is retired Major General Ali
The facility is to be located not in Ukraine but at the
Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Riyadh --
nominally a scientific government institution that supports and
enhances scientific applied research.
In June 2015 a high-level Ukrainian delegation
in the CANSEC arms show in Ottawa. It was led by the chief of the
General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Victor Muzhenko,
and included representatives of Ukroboronprom. According to
Ukroboronprom, "The parties held negotiations with such giants of
the Canadian aviation industry as Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney,
CAE, Magellan Aerospace, Bell Helicopter (MTL), Esterline CMC
Electronics and others, having noted advantages of cooperation
for both countries."
On June 16, 2015 Antonov announced at the Dubai Air
the number of partners in the Saudi project had been expanded
from two to five. It had signed two memorandums on cooperation
with Taqnia Aeronautics (KSA), the Ukrainian Scientific Research
Institute of Aviation Technology (UkrNII), Altis Holding
(Ukraine), and Broetje-Automation (Germany) to establish the
manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia as part of the offset
requirements for the program.
According to arrangements spelled out in the agreement,
Antonov will lead the design team for the AN-132 configuration,
while being "consultants" in setting up the plant and producing
the first prototype aircraft. The Saudis will retain proprietary
rights to the design.
In addition, according to Antonov, in late 2015 it
memorandum of understanding to sell at least six AN-132 platforms
to Saudi Arabia, four of which will be used for military and
search-and-rescue operations, and two for electronic warfare.
According to the designers, "the new electronic warfare (EW)
aircraft can counter airborne warning and control system planes,
air defence systems and manned and unmanned aircraft."
In fall 2015 the influential Pratt & Whitney
monopoly based in Longueuil, Quebec provided the SE Antonov
corporation with PW150A engines for a new AN-132D demonstration
or prototype aircraft.
In 2016, Antonov and Taqnia Aeronautics signed a formal
agreement on cooperation on the construction of an aircraft
complex and production of AN-132 in the Kingdom of Saudi
The export of military aircraft engines and avionic
were an integral part of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement,
signed in Kiev on July 11, 2016 by then-Minister of Trade
Chrystia Freeland in the company of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and which provides the
treaty framework for the Canada-Ukraine Defence Agreement.
Negotiations for the agreement were originally initiated by the
Harper government in 2014. Trudeau and Freeland were in Kiev
on the heels of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland and a visit to
the misnamed International Peacekeeping and Security Center in
northwestern Ukraine, where Canadian and American forces are
training the National Guard of Ukraine for Kiev's internal war
against the Donbass in Eastern Ukraine.
Free Trade in Arms
Although bilateral trade between Canada and Ukraine is
insignificant (an estimated $95 million annually), hundreds of
millions are potentially at stake in the arms trade. The free trade
deal signed on July 11 eliminates Ukrainian tariffs on imports.
Also on July 11, 2016, Ukroboronprom announced within
the framework of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement that it had
concluded strategic agreements with two Canadian monopolies:
1. Esterline CMC Electronics (formerly Canadian Marconi
Company) inked two contracts with Antonov to supply avionics
systems for a total of 67 transport aircraft (AN-12 and
n-148/158/178) for military and commercial use. These contracts
were signed in Kiev.
2. Pratt & Whitney Canada will furnish the AN-132
with the new version turboprop engine PW150A.
Yet another agreement signed in Kiev provided for the
training of Ukrainian avionic students from the National Aviation
University at Candamore College in North Bay, Ontario and the
training of Canadian students in Ukraine, illustrating the role
of universities as arms of the arms corporations, rather than
institutions that work in the public interest.
Both Pratt & Whitney and CMC Electronics are U.S.
subsidiaries. Pratt & Whitney is a subsidiary of the giant U.S.
arms monopoly, United Technologies (UTC), which also has a
factory at Rzeszów in southern Poland engaged in researching,
designing, manufacturing, and servicing aerospace engines and
components in Central Europe. UTC makes jet engines, missile
systems, Sikorski and Black Hawk helicopters and other war
materiel as well as consumer products. CMC Electronics, formerly
the Canadian Marconi Company (and thence BAE Systems Canada), was
acquired in 2007 for U.S.$335 million from the Onex investment
group by Esterline Corporation of Bellevue, Washington which is
connected to Boeing. Over 50 per cent of its military sales are
to the U.S.
The enhancement of Ukraine's
therefore a lucrative business for Canadian producers of war
materiel, which can make large dents in both the Canadian and
Ukrainian state budgets.
Although Canada very much needs small and medium civil
aircraft designed for Canadian conditions, these Canadian-based
private monopolies are deeply involved in designing and producing
military equipment and in the training of U.S. and other military
personnel, especially combat pilots. The feverish expansion of
military forces and spending in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars of
occupation presented new opportunities.
Governments began increasing the flow of tax
collected from individual Canadians to certain privileged
monopolies. Overall, between 1961 and March 31, 2012, Pratt &
Whitney Canada Corp. received the most funds from Industry Canada of
registered corporation under various pretexts: almost $3.3 billion via
that began in April 1970. CMC Electronics, ranking tenth,
received between March 1972 and January 2009, $309 million in 83
disbursements, according to a study by the Fraser
It is worth recalling that in January and again on
2016 Freeland's predecessor, Stéphane Dion, gave the false
impression that a 14-year, $14.8 billion sale of light armoured
vehicles (LAVs) by General Dynamics Land Systems in London,
Ontario to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was a done deal. Prime
Minister Trudeau explicitly claimed on October 11, 2015 -- on the
eve of the federal election on the Radio-Canada television
program Tout le monde en parle -- that the agreement was
to sell "jeeps" to Saudi Arabia. He denied that the government
had anything to do with it, saying it was merely "an agreement
between a manufacturing company here in Canada and Saudi
The brazen deception by the Trudeau Liberals, rightly
condemned by Canadians at the time, went much deeper. The Globe and
Mail reported earlier in 2016 that
matching Canadian-made LAVs purchased by Saudi Arabia had already
been photographed in use in Yemen. Secondly, Canadian-made LRT-3
sniper rifles produced by Winnipeg-based PGW Defence Technologies
were also in use in the Saudi invasion of Yemen, according to a
CBC report on February 22, 2016.
Thirdly, Pratt & Whitney Canada was
simultaneously signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Ukraine for
the export of
high-power aircraft engines for use by the Saudi Arabian Air
Force, and had already exported engines for the demonstration
model. Fourthly, there were credible reports that as early as May
2014 Canada was already participating with Antonov in a
clandestine program of weapons shipments to Ukraine.
It could scarcely be clearer. On top of laying the
groundwork for increased arming of the Ukrainian armed forces, the
Canada-Ukraine Defence Cooperation Agreement constitutes another means
to expand arms sales from Canada to the Saudi Arabia dictatorship for
war and aggression in the Middle East using Ukraine as a transit, as
well as to potentially increase the share of the global arms trade by
Pratt & Whitney, Esterline GMC Electronics and other private arms
monopolies. Unable to sustain its land forces in sustained fighting on
other continents, U.S. empire-builders and their proxies consider
better fighter and cargo planes and missiles crucial to achieve
military superiority in the air. This is all being done presumably with
the approval of the United States and Israel and their military and
security interests, although the terms of the new arms agreement have
never been presented to the Canadian parliament nor the Canadian people.
1. Evan Dyer, "Ukraine looks to Canada
to help modernize military's 'Soviet mentality,'" CBC News, March 4,
Weapons," Sputnik, June 5, 2016.
will help "Ukroboronprom" to
revive the Ukrainian aircraft industry, news.pn, June 8, 2015
4. The shipyards were placed under control of
Poroshenko-owned Ukrprominvest in
2010. The oligarch was foreign minister 2009-10 and member of the
National Security and Defence Council. The factory sold output worth
$5.3 million in
5. Charles Forrester,
"Ukroboronprom works on NATO part codification," www.janes.com,
SE Antonov has a long relationship as a supplier to the
bloc. In 2004, Ukraine signed an agreement with NATO on Strategic
Airlift in preparation for service in NATO and EU combat missions
to transport NATO soldiers and their weapons to theatres of
operations anywhere in the world. The contract therefore
increased the NATO strike capability "in the context of the NATO
Response Force (NRF) and EU Battle Groups" -- against Eastern
Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The NATO Support Agency signed
a contract with the Russian Volga-Dnepr Airlines -- a Ukrainian
Antonov Airlines joint venture, "Ruslan Salis Inc" ("Salis"
stands for "Strategic AirLift Interim Solution"). Together, the
two aviation companies had at their disposal more than 17 of the
exceptionally large Antonov AN-124 cargo planes, with an
exclusive cargo capacity of up to 150 tons. Since 2006, within
the framework of their Ruslan Salis Inc. joint venture --
Volga-Dnepr and Antonov have each placed six jumbo AN-124s at
NATO's disposal at the Leipzig/Halle airport in Germany.
In the meantime, the Canadian Forces used the Antonov
transport its DART team to Sri Lanka in 2006 and France to
transport war materiel to Mali. The German Bundeswehr has used
the AN-124s on more than 300 flights, particularly to transport
combat equipment to and from Afghanistan and deliver relief
supplies and weaponry to Northern Iraq.
To this end, the Leipzig Airport was converted to a
base for freight transport in violation of the 4-plus-2-Accord,
which forbids foreign troops and military goods being stationed
on and transferred by way of the territory of the former German
Democratic Republic. Moscow not only accepted the forward
deployment of NATO and EU troops to Leipzig, but also sought to
be affiliated with the EU's civilian-military aviation hub.
Long-term cooperation meant a business worth U.S.$25 billion. The
Russian/Ukrainian-produced heavy cargo transporters, stationed at
the Leipzig Airport, were capable of transporting -- alongside
helicopters, tanks and similar weapons -- also a new rocket
system to NATO and EU theatres of intervention.
May 11, 2015 and "Cooped
Up in Leipzig," german-foreign-policy.com,
March 3, 2006.
6. "Moving West,"
german-foreign-policy.com, April 10, 2015.
7. Yuri Selivanov, a defence
specialist from Odessa for the
"New Russia" Internet portal, pointed out geopolitical reasons
that underlay the U.S. sanctions:
"They [United States - TML] are very interested
this for two reasons. Firstly, the cessation of supplies to
Russia of Ukrainian aircraft engines and marine power plants,
components, rocket and space systems and the like, will cause a
direct blow to the defence capability of the Russian Federation
and, in particular, delay the implementation of the State program
of modernization of the armed forces, that given the current
situation of pre-war USA gives additional benefits. Second, these
restrictions to some extent affect the Russian military exports,
which for Americans is also very important, because the Russian
defence industry is in many ways their important and dangerous
For these mainly Russian-speaking cities in southern
eastern Ukraine where the defence industry and general
engineering are major employers, this was a real tragedy.
According to Selivanov, "Actually it is the elimination of the
socio-economic basis for the existence of a good half of the
country, and its most developed part. And the creation of
conditions for the mass exodus of Russian inhabitants of these
territories, which is simply not be able to find other equivalent
source of food. All this is fully consistent with the plans of
the most extremist of the Ukrainian elite, which (for example,
presidential adviser Lutsenko) unabashedly speaks of the
necessity of ethnic cleansing in the south-eastern Ukraine, on
the model of the expulsion of the entire Serb population from
Croatia in the mid 90s."
8. The characteristic of the AN-132 is
that it can operate on unpaved runways or in other harsh desert
or mountainous environments where many other transport aircraft
could not. Many Soviet-era designs were known for being suitable
for climatic conditions that are hot, desert-like and with
performance still at near-peak efficiency. The advantage of the
AN-132 in comparison with its competitors, such as the CASA C-295
and Alenia C-27J is that it will be capable of flying with one
inoperative engine at altitudes over 4,000 metres (13,132 feet),
which is considerably higher than the "one-engine only"
operational ceilings of both the C-295 and C-27J.
9. The agreement included four AN-148-100 aircraft,
four reconnaissance and rescue
variants of the AN-132 aircraft, and two devices for producing
radio interference based on the aircraft for the Saudis.
10. The two CMC Electronics
contracts with Antonov for
avionics systems provided for:
- the upgrade of seven AN-124 transport aircraft,
will supply its CMA-9000 Flight Management System (FMS), CMA-5024
GPS Sensor and MFD-2068 Multi-Function Display in a dual
- sixty, new production
transport aircraft, for commercial and military use, Esterline
CMC Electronics will supply dual CMA-9000 FMSs as well as five
MFD-3068 Multi-Function Displays.
Electronics," Ukroboronprom, July 12, 2016.
Agreement," Ukroboronprom, July 12, 2016 and "Ukraine's
MOU," joinfo.com, July 14, 2016.
12. In addition, one must add
paramilitary subsidies from other federal agencies such as the
National Research Council as well as from provincial governments.
For example, some 15 years ago the Chretien Liberals announced
the creation of the Centre des Technologies de Fabrication de
Pointe en Aerospatiale at l'Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal,
which represented a $46 million investment to be added to the
hundreds of millions already provided to Pratt and Whitney, Bell
Helicopter, Heroux, Bombardier, etc., all of which have factories
in the Montreal area.
A vice-president from Pratt & Whitney Canada,
Bartolomeo, heads up the newly-formed Consortium for Aerospace
Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC), according to the
organization's press release reprinted verbatim in the Ottawa
Citizen. "CARIC's mission is to develop advanced technologies for
the Canadian [sic] aerospace community." CARIC was spawned
directly by a similarly titled body, the Consortium for Research
and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ). That body is
headed by Pratt & Whitney President and CEO Denis Faubert, who is
also now a member of the first CARIC board of directors.
The first CARIC board of directors illustrates the
role of universities as research arms for the arms monopolies.
Seven Quebec universities are founding members of CRIAQ. One
quarter of the CARIC board -- six high-level executives from
Dalhousie, McGill, Ryerson, Carleton, University of British
Columbia and École de technologie supérieure -- have
institutions at the service of war and conquest. Meanwhile,
Canadian Business magazine reports that Canadian monopolies are
increasingly relying on universities to provide research and
development. Rob Annan, interim CEO of global communications
company Mitacs, says that by outsourcing innovation to
universities, monopolies are able to minimize their exposure to
risk. Moreover, university labs may have access to funding
channels not available to the private sector.
According to a study by the Canadian Association of
University Teachers, Open for
collaboration always remains with the "partners." See here.
Arms monopolies are plundering the resources of the
people to fuel a feverish and lethal race, the motor force of
their existence. It should be considered a serious crime to
siphon off public money to enrich individuals or companies and
enhance their monopoly right and power.
13. "The LRT-3 has an
effective range of 1.8 km. CBC News
said that more than $28 million worth of guns and rifles have
been exported from Canada to Saudi Arabia in the past decade.
Commentators suggested that this is a case of arms being 'diverted into
the wrong hands.' This covers up that Canada is
arming a country engaged in an aggressive invasion of another
country. The plight of the people of Yemen as a result of the
Saudi aggression has never been mentioned in either the House of
Commons nor in any government statements while the casualties
continue to rise and the humanitarian situation worsens."
Yemen," Renewal Update,
February 22, 2016 No. 5.
14. Wayne Madsen, "American Lethal
Military Aid to Ukraine is a Throwback to Iran-Contra Days," Strategic
Culture, February 3, 2015.
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