Cape of Opuk in the Crimea, which became known after the crash of the Russian Tu-154 passenger airliner, is now a place to gather a lot of military men today. This time there are both Russian and Ukrainian military men there. General Kuzmuk, the former Defense Minister of Ukraine, is absent. There are also a lot of Muscovites, the missile scientists. All of them gathered to imitate the launch of a S-200 battle missile, the same that it happened on the tragic day. A Tu-154 plane will fly 240 kilometers far from the Ukrainian shore. Another test missile is supposed to hit that target, 220 seconds after the launch. This missile will not actually perform the real hit; it will happen on a computer screen. The Russian specialists will be present at the experiment, they are to make a report to the Russian and Ukrainian presidents about how it all happened.
The strange thing is that the experiment was initiated not by the Office of the Prosecutor General, which was actually charged with the case, but by Ukraine’s top officials. If this really so, then one may assume that the goal of the entire undertaking is to justify Ukraine’s President Leonid Kuchma, who showed himself under a very bad light to the whole world. At that time, Kuchma cynically claimed that “one should not make a tragedy out of it.”
Everyone noticed one trait in Leonid Kuchma’s character. He believes that the truth is not what actually happens; the truth is what he says. This may seem ok to a certain extent in Ukraine, but when it comes to the international community, then the situation is rather confusing. The Tu-154 crash proved it very well. The Western press exploded after the Ukrainian president released that cynical statement, giving his personal estimation to the death of the 78 people who were on board the plane. The world started speaking about Mr.Kuchma as a man with no heart or compassion. So, today’s experimental missile launch is like a salute to support Kuchma’s shaking image. Of course, the official Ukrainian authorities hope a missile will not reach the test target. Then Kuchma will be able to gain control of the situation, saying that their missile simply could not fly so far. This experiment is actually another attempt of Ukraine to avoid the huge material responsibility, which is already knocking on Kiev’s doors. Sibir airline has already taken its firm position on the score: it needs compensation in the sum of 10 million dollars. There is a lawsuit prepared against Ukraine. The costs include the airliner and the money spend on the searching operations to find the fragments of the plane and the dead bodies in the Black Sea. There seem to be absolutely no doubts that the suit will be satisfied in the full volume by any court; Ukraine realizes this too.
The Israeli prime minister personally called President Kuchma and asked him to compensate for the moral damage to the families and relatives of the people killed. Kuchma replied that first Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleg Dubina had already been given instructions to collect the needed funds to make such payments. This was rather a strange thing to say, as Mr. Dubina did not know anything about it. This is the way Ukraine’s state kitchen is – very slovenly. In the beginning, they were lying when they said that they did not have anything in common with the crash, and now they say the money is being collected. This money is far from being a small sum for Ukraine, almost $12 million. Oleg Dubina will not be able to scrape it up.
Ukrainian deputy Sergey Terekhin offered to take one monthly salary of the parliamentarians, President, attendants of the presidential administration, and government members and to give this money away to clear the debt. He did not, however, mention the62 millionairs registered in Ukraine. Terekhin did not say that President Kuchma should have paid his portion first. Kuchma is not a poor man by the way; his accounts in foreign banks total over a billion dollars.
Kuchma and his friends-oligarchs are not likely to put their hands in their personal pockets for that. The top general officials of the country have already started collecting the money from the officers. Not on their free will, of course. Another part of the money will be taken from the assignments for the development of technical schools.
In the meantime, there is a cruel battle in Kiev, for the vacant position of the Defense Minister. This department is like the Vatican in Italy: a state within a state. Gorgeous mansions and fancy limos; the defense ministry had it all before the missile shot in Cape of Opuk. Yevgeny Marchuk, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, is one of those striving for this position. However, he is not likely to work something out.
Before Ukraine’s Defense Minister Alexander Kuzmuk resigned, Kuchma said that he was a person of high morality. What a shocker. On October 4, when the tragedy took place, Kuzmuk was on that cape, inspecting the anti-missile defense troops. On October 9, he was assuring everyone that a missile could not hit the passenger jet and that everything was carefully checked and organized. He even rejected such a possibility in theory. On October 11, he sent in his resignation immediately after it became known that a missile was the reason of the crash. And this is called “high morality.”
They say that the new defense minister will be a civil person: Kuchma’s close friend Vladimir Gorbulin. This person has always been near Kuchma’s side. Now he is in charge of a committee that deals with weapons sales! Moreover, Gorbulin has recently become the chairman of the pro-presidential party Democratic Union.
Ukraine’s Supreme Court was considering the details of another missile flight: the one that hit an apartment building in the town of Brovary, which is in Kiev’s suburban area. Three people were killed, and dozens injured at that time. Some of those who had the luxury to survive still do not have a common thing, a place to live. The person of “high morality," Alexander Kuzmuk was lying for 4 days on television, claiming it was not the military’s fault. He even took journalists to a pit on the training ground, saying it was the place, where the missile fell upon. The town of Brovary was out of the question.
Therefore, Ukraine’s Supreme Court was considering a lawsuit from lieutenant-general (on the retired list) Tereshenko (the former commander of the missile troops and artillery) filed against the head of the Defense Ministry, Kuzmuk. The ground of the suit was Tereshenko’s illegal dismissal from the position, which was in connection with the incident in Brovary. Kuzmuk got away with it, having laid the blame on the supervisor of the troops and dismissed him. As it turned out at the court session, Tereshenko was on a long business trip abroad at the moment of the incident and simply could not have been involved in that matter. It was also determined in court that Kuzmuk did not care to look into the problem in detail; he did not pay attention to the fact that the training ground, from which the missiles were launched, was situation only 15 kilometers from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Kuzmuk just dismissed one general and tried to forget everything, that’s all. He followed Kuchma’s advice: “one should not make a tragedy.”
On the photo: Leonid Kuchma - the Ukrainian President