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Should The Donald have trusted his initial instincts? The decision by the Trump administration to provide sophisticated weapons to the Kyiv government in Ukraine, pushed by Establishment GOP elements within The White House, seems to have emboldened the Kyiv government to join it’s Russian adversary and ignite the war in the Donbass region of East Ukraine. In a live video briefing today in Donetsk, Alexander Hug, deputy chief monitor of the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine, outlined his concerns that the war may enter a new, more dangerous, deadly phase.
“Everywhere we observe an indication that the sides are preparing to continue the conflict or even escalate it,” Hug said as he described OSCE monitors witnessing the conflicting parties in eastern Ukraine making new trenches, laying new landmines and building up their weapons.
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“Instead of withdrawing weapons, disengaging and de-mining, it seems the sides are in fact doing the opposite,” he said.
Concern over outright Russian invasion are also rising within the Ukrainian press. “The idea of paving a corridor from eastern Ukraine in the southwest direction toward Transnistria is still broiling in the minds of the Kremlin strategists,” said Independent Russian political scientist Dmitry Oreshkin, wrote Ukrainian weekly Novoe Vremya.
“That’s because Ukraine is prepared for such actions. The level of its combat readiness has increased greatly, while Russia’s support group has weakened. Therefore, an attempt to resolve the ‘Ukrainian issue’ by force will be suicidal for Putin’s regime. This does not mean that this cannot happen, but it is unlikely that it will.”
With the two sides locked in a conflict that cannot be won without a massive escalation and deployment of resources into Ukraine, from Russia or by the West, the decision by the Trump administration to escalate the conflict by providing anti-tank weapons and heavy sniper rifles to Kyiv, looks fraught with uncertainty and risk.
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The measure most likely appeased the American media, and the GOP adventurous Establishment, for a short period of time, but it is unlikely the weapons will impose peace on the region. Quite the opposite consequence seems to be more likely, as Kyiv may feel it now has NATO/American support for a much bigger fight.