Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ukraine/Russia: Is a Cease-Fire Truly in the Ukraine's Best Interest?

According to AFP, Russian forces deployed near Ukraine's eastern border are "more lethal" than ever before and heavily armed with artillery and air defense weaponry, the Pentagon said Thursday (September 4).
The Russian contingent now had "higher concentrations" of field artillery, rockets, anti-aircraft systems, as well as engineers and other troops providing logistical and other support to combat forces, he said.
"The force that we see arrayed on the border is exceptionally capable, probably more capable, more lethal than anything that we've seen up until now," spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters.
"It is a capable armed force that we are very concerned about," Colonel Warren said.
The overall number of Russian troops along the Ukraine border had not increased and remained at roughly 10,000, he added.
Warren's comments came as the conflict in Ukraine dominated a summit of NATO leaders in Wales, with calls for the alliance to offer more help to Kiev's military and to deploy troops in former Soviet bloc states that are now NATO members.
COMMENT: Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko predicted a cease-fire deal would be agreed by Friday (September 5), yet the nagging and lingering question is:
"Is a cease-fire truly helpful to an embattled nation such as the Ukraine which will no doubt get the "short-sheet" in any negotiated cease-fire…if Vladimir Putin has anything to say about."
Interestingly, yesterday, September 3, both Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk were separately and independently disagreeing with the merits and downsides of  a cease-fire unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to deceive the West about Moscow's real intentions.  

If in fact, NATO has assumed the role of serving as a mediator in the war underway between Moscow and Kiev, perhaps the alliance should be directly engaged in reconciling the apparent dispute between Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk before a cease-fire is actually ratified? 
NATO has accused Moscow of sending hundreds of troops into Ukraine in what it calls the most serious threat to security in Europe since the Cold War.
NATO sees Russia's March 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine as a violation of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act which fixed Europe's post-Cold War borders and prohibited the use of force to amend them.
Since the crisis erupted in March, the United States has provided about $70 million in "non-lethal" aid to Ukraine's security forces but it has so far opted against sending arms to Kiev.