CACDS advises authorities to ignore Putin's offer on hardware transfer from occupied Crimea
The Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CACDS) sees a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin to transfer Ukrainian weapons and military hardware from occupied Crimea as political technology ahead of the upcoming tightening of U.S. sanctions and recommend that the Ukrainian authorities ignore this proposal.
The Ukrainian analytical center said in an official statement on Friday that the upcoming introduction of new U.S. sanctions against members of the ruling class in Russia obliges the Kremlin "to demonstrate readiness to soften its position on Ukraine."
According to experts, the return of Ukrainian arms and military equipment from Crimea from the point of view of strengthening the Ukrainian Armed Forces potential will not have any positive effect, but, on the contrary, will entail unacceptable financial costs, including the payment of significant funds to the aggressor country for spare parts to arms and military equipment. At the same time, this step will form a negative information background around Ukraine, and will also "allow Putin to realize a plan to create conditions for the cancellation of the introduction of new sanctions by the U.S. and the lifting of the existing EU sanctions," the statement says.
At the same time, CACDS specifies that according to available information, representatives of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea have been permanently destroying Ukrainian arms and military equipment since April 2014, when Russia blocked negotiations on the search for a format for returning to Ukraine the arms and military hardware captured in Crimea. In particular, the most efficient Ukrainian ships, in particular, the Kostiantyn Olshansky, the Ternopil and Lutsk corvettes, are used as "donors" for Russian ships and are dismantled for spare parts for the repair of ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
"It is most likely that Ukrainian ships, aircraft and armored vehicles, as well as air defense systems, are now in Crimea in a state unfit for use," experts say.
"The repair and restoration of the technical readiness and combat readiness of arms and military hardware will require considerable funds. At the same time, this process will put Ukraine in dependence on Russia and will become an occasion for the implementation of a powerful anti-Ukrainian information campaign," the statement reads.
In view of these circumstances, CACDS recommends that the Ukrainian authorities, before the presidential elections in Russia, not to react at the official level to the proposals put forward by the Russian side for the transfer of weapons and military equipment from occupied Crimea and not to agree to any negotiations, including "preliminary verification of weapons and military equipment," to officially declare the inexpediency of the return of the destroyed inefficient equipment from Crimea, to continue to work within the formats worked out by the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the Justice Ministry on filing lawsuits with international courts regarding the payment by Russia of compensation for Ukrainian arms and military hardware captured in Crimea.