Despite increasing bipartisan pressure from Congress and other top officials, President Obama is continuing to stand by the decision to not send arms to Ukraine to aid its military against pro-Russian separatists. Thus far, Obama has refused to deliver lethal aid due to concerns that the action could provoke Russia to increase its military force against Ukraine, and that the Ukrainian military could unintentionally harm civilians with U.S.-provided arms due to lack of training.
Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, top U.S. military official in Europe, said Tuesday that though arming Ukraine may temporarily benefit the Ukrainians on the battlefield, the best policy is still to use diplomatic means to maintain Ukrainian sovereignty. Doing so would provide Russia the opportunity to eventually return to the international community after recent political and economic isolation from the West, evidenced by the sanctions placed upon them.
The violence in eastern Ukraine comes in the wake of last year’s revolution in the nation and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea. According to the West, separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions have received Russian aid. However, Moscow dismissed the recent claim made by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland that Russia had deployed “thousands and thousands” of troops and sent military equipment to the rebel-controlled zone of Ukraine.
Marlyse Vieira ’17