HC Deb 10 November 1919 vol 121 cc17-9
59. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government is in any way assisting General Denikin to fight the Ukrainians under General Petliura; and, if so, is there a British officer with the forces there engaged instructed to report on the methods of warfare adopted?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply. In answer to the first part of the question, it is well known that we are providing General Denikin with military material, and this policy has lately received the emphatic approval of the House. The Volunteer Army has only recently come in contact with Petliura, and in the hostilities which ensued the latter, who has since declared war on Denikin, was the aggressor. General Holman has reported that "some of his (Petliura's) bands treacherously attacked two squadrons of the Volunteer Army at night after having come to an agreement with them." As regards the second part of the question, British liaison officers are attached to General Denikin's troops operating on the Odessa—Kiev front, part of which are in contact with Petliura's troops.


Are we to understand that the British Government are supporting General Denikin in fighting the people in the Ukraine, who are actually fighting for independence, and are not fighting for the Bolshevists?


No; the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows perfectly well that the equipment placed at the disposal of General Denikin was given free of any stipulation as to the particular enemy against whom he used it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] That is true. I am merely stating the facts. The occurrence to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers was a recent one. I do not doubt the general situation will be taken into account.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Ukranians complain that it is Denikin who is the aggressor? Why should we not accept the statement of the Ukranians in preference to that of Denikin?


Well, Sir, we have great faith in the statement made by the British officers.


In view of the Prime Minister's projected peace proposals, do you propose to stop these supplies?


Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will repeat that question to the Prime Minister.


Can we have a British officer sent out to Petliura's forces, and have their side also given?


I am quite sure if the hon. and gallant Gentleman would himself care to go—! [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]

Captain W. BENN

Do we understand—


called upon Mr. Billing to put the next question on the Paper (No. 60—Old Age Pensions).

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