As the White House completes plans to send anti-armor weapons as well as small arms to Ukraine, the Russian government is taking notice. The move has been long anticipated by the Ukrainian government who is waging a war with Russian backed separatists using surplus munitions and weapons. United States officials declared that among the shipment, Javelin missiles would be included; a type of anti-tank missile system. The Javelins will be incredibly valuable to the Ukraine’s defense as the separatists employ the use of modernized tanks such as the T-72 and T-68 as well as other armored vehicles to attack Ukraine’s military forces.
The move has drawn attention from Moscow and Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Ryabkov bluntly stated, “It’s not a mediator. It’s an accomplice in fueling the war,” in reference to the U.S.’s actions and suggested Russia would respond accordingly. However, despite the Russian backlash, Ukraine and the United States both agree that Russia is arming and fighting alongside the separatists. As always the U.N. is heavily involved with coordinating cease fires at the moment and said the support comes at a delicate time in the conflict
Russia was quick to propose sending in peacekeepers initially which made the U.S. and NATO show reserved optimism but disagreements quickly surfaced when the subject of stationing came up. Major disagreements were experienced in this regard and while Russia only wanted peacekeepers stationed along the “line of conflict”, the US and its allies demanded they be deployed to all areas of separatist occupation along the border of Ukraine and Russia. Thus far an agreement has not been reached but a series of ceasefires have come into being and have been broken to date; who is at fault there is anyone’s guess.
In providing weapons to Ukraine, the United States government believes it may gain leverage over these ongoing negotiations. Skepticism is a standard response to Russia’s plan to retake Crimea but many believe it’s President, Vladimir Putin, is looking for a way to back out of the conflict gracefully. The former deputy secretary general for NATO, Alexander Vershbow, said that the United Nations peacekeeping mission could give Russia the opportunity to withdraw its forces from the area and not appear as if retreating.