It looks like Biden and this failed administration is about to risk war just to distract the American people from the most incompetent presidency in history.
Ukraine is counting on the support of the United States and other Western nations to ward off a potential renewed invasion by Russia, which has massed some 100,000 troops near the former Soviet republic’s border. Moscow also recently moved forces into Belarus, Ukraine’s Kremlin-aligned neighbor, in what the Russians are portraying — to widespread Western skepticism — as a regular exercise.
Kyiv is not a NATO member and does not benefit from the organization’s mutual defense pact, but it has received significant assistance in bolstering its defensive capabilities since Russia annexed its Crimea region in 2014.
U.S. and European officials also have been engaged in diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions with Moscow, although there is an impasse over Russia’s demand that Ukraine and other former Soviet states be barred from joining the Western military alliance.
As the troop buildup continues, here’s what President Biden and other Western leaders have placed on the line.
What is President Biden’s stance on Ukraine?
Biden said Thursday he has been “absolutely clear” with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that “any assembled Russian units [moving] across the Ukrainian border” constitutes an invasion.
“Let there be no doubt at all: If Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price,” he added. The remarks came after Biden had appeared to suggest that a “minor incursion” would perhaps receive a less firm response.
Last December, the White House authorized a $200 million security assistance package that provides Ukraine with small arms and ammunition, secure radios, medical equipment and spare parts. Other lethal equipment, including Javelin antitank missiles and other anti-armor artillery, as well as heavy machine guns, also were included. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said late Friday that a first shipment of nearly 200,000 pounds of lethal aid had recently arrived in Ukraine.
Any American assistance is not likely to include ground troops, after Biden in December ruled out the possibility of stationing U.S. forces in or around Ukraine to deter Russian aggression.
What military help have NATO members promised?
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told Parliament on Monday that a “small number” of British personnel would join an existing British operation to build up Ukrainian military capacity. “Light, anti-armor, defensive weapon systems” also will be supplied, he said, adding that they were no threat to Russia.
Canada also has a military training program with Ukraine, and Ottawa recently sent a small contingent of special forces to assist Kyiv, according to Canadian media. The Department of National Defense declined to comment on potential troop deployments, citing operational sensitivity.
The Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia also have received permission from the Biden administration to send U.S.-made weapons, such as Stinger air defense systems and Javelins, to Ukraine, the countries’s defense ministers said Friday.
Turkey, which has a sizable weapons manufacturing industry, has previously sold Bayraktar TB2 drones to Ukraine. The weapon has been used to strike Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The Netherlands and Spain also have deployed warplanes and warships, respectively, to the region to support NATO.
Why are NATO allies sending weapons to Ukraine?
NATO members have focused on bolstering Ukraine’s self-defense capabilities and have avoided sending more-sophisticated systems, said Alexey Muraviev, a national security expert at Australia’s Curtin University, adding that they wanted to avoid antagonizing Moscow.
Ukraine is not equipped to fend off a Russian invasion, but the presence of more Western military personnel and weapons is a “symbolic” and “declaratory” act of deterrence, he said. “Ukraine has become an arena of a proxy conflict between the United States and Russia.”
Russia will keep a wary eye on the Stinger missile deliveries, since they would allow low-flying aircraft to be struck by ground troops and could be a sign of Western willingness to send more-advanced weapons, Muraviev said. But while the Stingers are consideredrelatively easy to operate, Ukrainian forces will need more time to learn to use any sophisticated weapons that the West might send.
What diplomatic channels have U.S. allies pursued?
During a meeting last week between NATO and Russian officials, all 30 members of the defense alliance voiced their commitment to the “open door” policy that would admit Ukraine and Georgia, another former Soviet republic, if they meet entry requirements.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has had a closer relationship with Moscow than many other alliance leaders, also has cautioned against Russian aggression. He told Turkish reporters that he intended to discuss the situation with Putin and added that invasion was not a “realistic option” because Ukraine is a “powerful country.”
However, there are questions over how much support Kyiv can expect from France and Germany, which also wield significant influence within NATO. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock recently accused the Kremlin of aggression and rights abuses while standing next to her Russian counterpart at a joint news conference, but Berlin and Moscow’s close energy ties could complicate any response.
France has a long-standing tradition of pushing for European diplomacy to be more independent of Washington. President Emmanuel Macron, who is set to face an election at home, said Wednesday that the European Union should have a “frank dialogue” of its own with Russia. That appeared to be a suggestion that U.S.-led discussions may not fully account for European interests.
Amy Cheng is a breaking-news reporter for The Washington Post in its Seoul hub. Before joining The Post in October 2021, she worked as a news producer for NPR in Beijing. Twitter