Russia has become increasingly aggressive in the Ukraine, with reports of Moscow supporting separatists and even possibly providing them with weapons. This is alarming for Ukrainian civilians who are seeking the support of NATO and other Western nations to deter Russia. The U.S., meanwhile, is considering a response that could include sanctions against Russian officials or heavier military aid to Ukraine
Last month, Ukraine’s defense minister sent a wish list of help to his American counterpart at the Pentagon in order to protect his nation from the possibility of Russian forces massing near its borders. According to Ukrainian and US sources familiar with the issue, high-tech antimissile systems were at the top of the list.
The White House indicated a month later that it is still examining the request.
While Ukrainian authorities are hesitant to criticize the US explicitly, they do believe that a more robust military support program is required to counter Moscow’s pressure campaign and prevent a potential Russian strike.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s objective, according to Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, which controls the military, is to re-establish a zone of authority over Ukraine and other regions of the former Soviet Union. Mr. Danilov believes that the United States’ conflicts with China, its shambolic retreat from Afghanistan, and its own home problems with Covid-19 and inflation may prompt the Russian leader to believe that now is the right time to attempt.
“He believes this is a period of vulnerability for the United States, so he’s chosen to put it to the test,” he added. “Sovereign nations should not exist near Putin’s borders, according to him.” There is no Ukraine, Poland, or the Baltics for him. They aren’t real.”
After confrontations over cybercrime, ambassador expulsions, and a migration crisis in Belarus, a military buildup near the Ukrainian border is straining relations between Russia and the United States. The Wall Street Journal examines why the rift between Washington and Moscow is widening. Michelle Inez Simon (photo composite/video)
If Russia strikes, the Biden administration has promised to implement a series of economic measures, increased military aid to Ukraine, and increased deployments in NATO nations along the alliance’s eastern flank closest to Ukraine and Russia. Those would go into effect following a Russian invasion, according to present plans.
President Biden informed Mr. Putin this week that the US will give more military weapons to Ukraine “above and beyond” the present military assistance package if Russia acts, according to Karen Donfried, the top State Department spokeswoman for Europe.
According to the National Security Council, the US continues to provide “defensive military support to Ukraine.” Last week, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said the US was continually reviewing Ukraine’s military requirements and putting together prospective packages. He claimed that the capacity of the Ukrainian military to absorb additional weaponry, rather than the risk of antagonizing Russia, was a primary factor in selecting what to send.
Russia has been painted as a danger by Mr. Putin and top Russian officials. Mr. Putin claimed this week that Ukrainian and NATO soldiers are advancing on Russian territory, causing the Russian leader to contemplate “retaliatory military-technical actions.” While Mr. Putin has said that Russia wants to dialogue, his words have raised fears that military action may be imminent if Moscow’s demands for NATO to sever military relations with former Soviet countries are not realized.
Oleksiy Danilov, a Ukrainian national security officer, said Russia had yet to amass enough soldiers near its borders to launch a significant invasion.
VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO/REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO/RE
Ukrainian officials and former US officials believe the Biden administration’s attempts to dissuade Russia would be bolstered if the US and its European allies frontloaded their military assistance for Ukraine and laid out their sanctions, removing any concerns about the US and its European allies’ determination.
According to US and NATO sources, the Biden administration has been debating for weeks whether to give five Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters that are already in Ukraine, where they were being refurbished for the Afghan military under a NATO program until the US withdrew from Afghanistan in August.
According to US and NATO officials, no decision has been taken on whether or not to hand over the helicopters to the Ukrainian military. A Pentagon official refused to comment on the planned transfer, but said the US was working with Ukraine to assess the needs of its military force.
The mayor of Ukraine’s snow-covered capital, whose principal squares are already lighted up for the New Year and the orthodox Christmas season, has ordered an inventory and examination of basements and subterranean storage facilities that may be used as bomb shelters. There are no signals of fear among the locals.
According to Mr. Danilov, a Ukrainian national-security officer, Russia has yet to amass enough soldiers near its borders to launch a significant invasion.
Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, annexed Crimea, and continues to support rebels in Ukraine’s east. Mr. Danilov claims that Ukrainians have become used to Moscow’s belligerence after seven years. He said, “We will fight with the means we have.” “Is there anything more we can do?”
According to some US and European officials, Russia’s military buildup may be primarily a pressure campaign to extract diplomatic concessions. While the Ukrainian army has been toughened by years of combat, Moscow has a significant military edge over Kyiv in terms of air, land, and sea capabilities.
According to a source familiar with the situation, when Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov met with his US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Washington last month, anti-rocket weapons such as Patriot missiles were on his list of required supplies, along with training.
Mr. Reznikov remained tight-lipped about the encounter. Mr. Danilov said that the administration is unable to comment on Ukraine’s request.
Since 2014, the United States has supplied around $2.5 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, attempting to strike a balance between Ukraine’s needs and Russia’s provocation. Javelin anti-tank missiles and radars have been used to detect the source of artillery fire. In addition, patrol boats, medical supplies, communications equipment, and training have been supplied.
According to retired US military sources, Ukraine’s air defense capabilities remains a vulnerability, particularly if Russia conducts missile attacks against Ukrainian antiaircraft troops before using Russian air force to destroy command and control facilities and assault the Ukrainian army.
Near Ukraine’s borders, Russia possesses hundreds of intermediate and short-range missiles that can cover nearly every target within the country, according to Mykhailo Samus, head of the New Politics Research think tank in Kyiv. He said that Russian air force would follow the missile strikes, and that hacking would assist in the communication blackout.
He predicted that the missile and air assault would continue just a few hours before Russia’s own troops moved in.
Former US military officials say it’s impossible to expect the US to readily extend its military support following a Russian strike, as the Biden administration is contemplating.
“If Russia attacks, Russian air forces would almost certainly seal the airspace,” a retired US general stated. “If conflict breaks out, moving goods inside Ukraine to where they are needed will become more difficult.”
Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Frequently Asked Questions
Why there is conflict between Russia and Ukraine?
A: There was a conflict between Russia and Ukraine in 2014, but it has been resolved by the Minsk agreement.
Why is the US interested in the Ukraine?
How many American troops are in Europe?
A: There are currently about 5,000 American troops in Europe.