On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal’s Brett Forrest wrote in “Security Contractor Erik Prince Is in Talks to Acquire Ukraine’s Motor Sich” that President Trump’s informal advisor Erik Prince is negotiating to buy Motor Sich, a leading maker of aircraft and helicopter engines and the crown jewel of Ukrainian aerospace firms that descended from Soviet aerospace manufacturers. The WSJ reported that the Trump administration approached Prince and another potential buyer to acquire the firm, and that Prince has visited Motor Sich’s main plant and has discussed a potential purchase with Ukrainian officials.
Erik Prince, if you’ll recall, is the billionaire founder of the defense contractor formerly known as Blackwater, is brother to US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and is currently executive director of Frontier Services Group, a private security contractor based in Hong Kong and Beijing and with operations in Africa and Asia, including protection for China’s Silk Road initiative. The WSJ reports that the Trump administration wants to prevent China from acquiring Motor Sich — though this reported motive doesn’t exactly square with the idea of the boss of a Chinese-based security contractor buying the firm.
The potential deal was kept secret from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, according to an article “Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Says Potential U.S. Buyer For Aeronautics Firm Motor Sich News To Him”, published today in RFE/RL. At a meeting yesterday with the Ukrainian state-run defense contractor Ukroboronprom, Zelensky said:
I also read about this and only last night. I haven’t met with anybody, I haven’t spoken about this with anyone, but this issue should be tied to the president of Ukraine because Motor Sich is a strategic enterprise….
So — the Trump administration is now helping Putin and subverting Ukraine in yet another way, by arranging for the sale of a leading Ukrainian aerospace manufacturer without telling the president of Ukraine. If Zelensky was wondering about the kind of people he’s dealing with, presumably any doubts he had about Trump and his associates have now been completely dispelled. And all the while, Trump and his billionaire buddies continue to use American taxpayer funds to threaten Ukraine and thereby enrich themselves.