In 2014 Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in the Ukraine. Since 2014 pro-Russian rebels, with the support of Russia, have continued to fight in eastern Ukraine. Former President Obama strongly opposed the Russian aggression against Crimea, and he imposed sanctions as punishment for the action. Now, the Pentagon is urging the Trump administration to give Ukrainians some added support in their fight against Russian aggression.
The Pentagon’s Request
The Pentagon has recommended to President Trump that the US support Ukraine in their struggle. The recommendation asks the administration to send high-tech tank-killing weapons to Ukraine to help them in their fight against Russia.
The proposal will cost roughly $50 million. It remains unclear if under the Pentagon backed plan, the US would supply the weapons directly to the Ukraine or if they might go through an intermediary. Also unknown is if US military personnel would train the Ukrainians to use the weapons provided.
The Support and the Questions
How the President might react to the proposal is yet to be seen. He left on a 17-day vacation Friday. Retired Admiral James Stavridis is the former commander of NATO, said of the proposal, “It is the right move and I see the fingerprints of Secretary of Defense Mattis all over it.”
Stavridis continued, “This is a very logical and sensible move which will increase deterrence — because it will place doubt in the minds of Russian aggressors in terms of their use of offensive weapons systems.”
The Pentagon would not confirm the plan but said through a spokesperson, “I can certainly say that we have not provided defensive weapons nor have we ruled out the option to do so.”
Loren Thompson, Chief Operating Officer of the Lexington Institute, warned about the potential consequences of arming Ukraine. Thompson said, “What would we think if the Russians were arming Mexico? This could potentially spark a wider war.”
John McLaughlin is a Former Acting CIA Director. He commented on the Pentagon proposal saying that Russia had certainly “earned” the US aid to Ukraine but continued, “but will see it as an escalation even though it poses no immediate danger to their forces given the disposition of the two sides and the nature of the current skirmishing.”