Few days after calling Russia as rival power, US decided to supply weapons to Ukraine to help it fight Russia-backed separatists that would fuel conflict in eastern part of the country. Facing challenge from both Russia and China, US president’s first national security strategy specifically lay emphasis that Beijing and Moscow were trying to “challenge American power, influence and interests” and “erode American security and prosperity”.
While cautioning Washington, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov accused the US of playing the role of warmonger in the Ukrainian conflict, adding that “In a sense, the US has crossed a line and pushes Kiev towards bloodshed.”
The US State Department has announced the US would supply “defensive weapons” to Ukraine, saying it would help “deter further aggression.” The weapons would reportedly include anti-tank missiles, which Kiev has been asking for from Washington for years. The US government earlier approved a purchase by Kiev of sniper rifles and other small arms from US manufacturers.
Donald Trump has outlined a new Cold War-style approach to US foreign policy by framing Russia and China as competitors and stressing the importance of nuclear weapons.
And it warned against “engagement” with rivals, saying the belief they could be turned into “benign actors and trustworthy partners” had been proved wrong.
Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow has annexed in 2014 in a referendum that is slammed by Ukraine and most of the International community as illegitimate. Then Kiev’s government launched its first formal military action against the pro-Russian rebels who have seized government buildings in towns and cities across eastern Ukraine prompting Putin to declare that Ukraine is on the “brink of civil war.” In April 2014, separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk declared independence after unrecognized referendums.
Both Ukraine government and pro-Russian separatists agreed to a complete ceasefire in September but the fragile ceasefire was violated as alleged by the NATO that Russian tanks, other weapons and troops having entered the border into Ukraine — a claim that Moscow denies. Another ceasefire was brokered by Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande after the United States warned of supplying lethal aid to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, sanctions have been imposed on Russia by US, European Union due to the country’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
The United Nations stated that Ukraine’s prolonged conflict has killed nearly 9,500 people with more than 22,100 injured.Fighting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian armed forces escalated in 2017 and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley condemned Russia’s “aggressive actions” at the UN Security Council.
US National security advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster state that Russia and China are subverting the post-World War II political, economic and security orders to advance their own interests at the expense of the United States and its allies.
Aware of the fact that Russia still remains the second most powerful military arsenal in the world and President Vladimir Putin’s aim is to regain the power of the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR or Soviet Union).
By: Arti Bali