Thursday, February 02, 2017

Stimulus and Response

Every time Russia escalates fighting in the Donbas region of Russian-ocuppied Ukraine, I strongly believe an American cargo plane loaded with infantry anti-tank weapons should be very publicly flown into Kiev.

Ukraine is asking for help:

Ukraine's president appealed for more global pressure against Russia on Thursday as Moscow-backed rebels and government forces clashed around a frontline town for a fifth day in a surge of fighting that has claimed a reported 21 lives.

The sworn foes have been exchanging mortar and rocket fire around the flashpoint eastern town of Avdiivka that sits just north of the Russian-backed rebels' de facto capital of Donetsk.

More Russian soldiers will have to die in Putin's war on Ukraine before the pressure will move him to behave even a little bit.

I assume Democrats will be all on board this kind of policy given their recent conversion.

UPDATE: Is Trump quieter about Russian aggression than Obama? And does this indicate a softer stance toward Russia?

Obama may have been louder, but what did we get from that? Has Russia given up their conquests or even admit they'd done anything?

I would trade a loud talk and little action for soft speech and effective efforts to arm Ukraine to fill in the gaps of their arsenal, any day.

No deal is worth selling out Ukraine.

UPDATE: Well, so much for that line of attack on Trump:

US Ambassador Nikki Haley on Thursday condemned Russia's "aggressive actions" in Ukraine and pledged strong US support to Kiev even as the new US administration seeks to improve ties with Russia.

Indeed, Haley said Crimea has to be returned to Ukraine. Often that aggression is forgotten in the focus on the Russian-occupied Donbas.

So there you go. Perhaps actions will be as soft as the Obama administration's. But the talk is not softer.

UPDATE: There will be more than "hope" involved:

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday he hoped that pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine had enough ammunition to respond to what he called aggressive actions by the Ukrainian army.

We should start loading up a transport and filing a flight plan with Ukraine.

UPDATE: It's looking like there could be a serious battle for Avdiyivka in the Donbas, which is held by Ukrainian forces:

"Our tanks are preparing for battle," Deydey said inside the Ukrainian Army's forward-most command center, peering out a shattered window at his arsenal standing by in the courtyard. "This is a real escalation."

The outburst of violence since January 29 has shattered a monthslong relative lull in fighting, pushed the city of Avdiyivka to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, and heightened fears that full-scale warfare could reignite at any moment.

In the past, Russian pressure has been further south at Mariupol. One can't rule out the possibility that if Russia escalates they will strike hard there while attention is focused further north.