Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels have been locked in a three-day-long battle with limited supplies and no resupply in sight. These troops do not have the training we do in the West, but they’re getting a lot of on-the-job-training, Ukrainians and Russian alike. In the early days of the revolt, pro-Russian separatists beat men to death. The fighting is intense and Russia has stepped up its aggression as of late. The pro-Russian separatists might see an opening as the world is preoccupied with a new American president and Syria.
According to an article published in Al Jazeera, the fighting in Avdiivka has left thousands without power or running water. The combination of no power or water sounds similar to earlier days in Aleppo, which escalated into a catastrophe. There’s no doubt this is the worst fighting that’s been seen in eastern Ukraine for several months. A barrage of mortars, 120mm rockets and small arms fire and attacks are in an upward trend. The developed world, for the most part, does not seem to care as they were outraged about Aleppo.
Is it that there are fewer wealthy and influential Syrians in the diaspora than Ukrainians? Or is the Middle East simply more relevant because of the world’s energy needs. Either way, they’re both worth our attention. But, Syria, it appears, has met its tipping point. The difference in Ukraine is that both sides have real militaries, backing, and the will to fight to the end. Ukraine has a large standing army and traditionally held back the Russian influence; similar to Iraq as a stopgap to Iranian influence in the Middle East. The loss of Ukraine could ignite an eastern European destabilization.
Ukraine’s foreign minister wants to hold Russia directly accountable, “The current escalation in Donbass is a clear indication of Russia’s continued blatant disregard of its commitments under the Minsk [ceasefire] agreements with a view of preventing the stabilization of the situation and achieving any progress in the security and humanitarian spheres,” Ukraine’s foreign ministry stated. A potential evacuation of Avdiivka is being considered at the international level, as well as a pragmatic move by Ukraine. While Russian legislatures are accusing Ukraine of war crimes, Ukraine is referring to the pro-Russian separatists as terrorists. This battle in Avdiivka is nearing a tipping point in a war that seems to have a higher than normal boiling point. The question is, what will the U.S. policy response be?
Featured image courtesy of UAWire