Image by ВО «Свобода»
As the tension between Russia and the U.S. heats up, recently over the new sanctions bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and making its way through the Senate, the conflict in Donbass mirrors the uptick in bad blood between the two military powers.
Today the Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council said one soldier was killed and eight others wounded in separatist shelling in the town of Krasnohorivka in Donbass. One more was wounded near Shirokino.
The fighting has been smoldering since the Minsk Agreement was signed in 2015 but never fully implemented. However, as relations sour between Washington and Moscow, the war in East Ukraine flares. Moscow can easily order increased Ukrainian deaths on the frontline by ordering the rebels to fire on government troops. This has been Moscow’s trump card (pardon the pun) to get what it wants in negotiations with world powers, trying to find a way to establish a successful ceasefire.
However, unfortunately the stakes are now much more dangerous. The Trump administration is now actively considering arming Ukraine with lethal weapons after the tour of the conflict areas by the administration’s new envoy, Kurt Volker. In short, the first hot shooting war in Europe in decades could turn into a full-fledged conflagration across the front lines of NATO, like the Baltics, where NATO is shorthanded and exposed.
The Trump administration, if it does chose to supply weapons to the Ukrainian military, better be prepared to confront Russia herself as she will surely react in a negative manner to this escalation.