Russia has undertaken a media, economic, financial, and military campaign against Ukraine. Since the beginning of these conflicts in 2014, over 5,500 Ukrainians have died, and the scale of the humanitarian crisis is growing by the day. Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military assault on the grounds that the Ukrainian state has a stale army that has been penetrated by Russian spies and is very weak. Nonetheless, he found unanticipated opposition from regular residents who shown a determination to protect their country, get weapons such as night goggles and bulletproof vests, and care for wounded soldiers.  For the last few months, Ukraine citizens have donated more than $9.5 million charity fund to the Ministry of Defense, and only around 2% of the Ukrainians hold that the country should give up the Donbas region. Almost seven years after the end of the Russo-Georgia war, Vladimir Putin is trying again to test the West's determination to uphold international law and values. During Georgia disorder, the U.S failed to provide a cure. Now it remains an open question on whether U.S will fail to provide a solution to Ukraine crisis. It is true that the natural resolution does not exist; nevertheless, the U.S should consider reinforcing the Ukraine effort through military means. If the U.S allows Russia to continue unimpeded, then the Ukraine effort to safeguard its sovereignty will fail.
Policy issues
The annexation of eastern Ukraine and Crimea by Russia challenges basic assumptions concerning which U.S policy post-Cold War era toward Europe has been based. Currently, Europe is secure and stable, and this enables the U.S to focus much of its attention to other regions, especially the Middle East and Asia. Moreover, for more than twenty years Russia has been more of a partner to America than an enemy. This show that the annexation of eastern Ukraine and Crimea by Russia require the U.S revisits these concerns and its foreign policy. Europe has now returned as the center and front of the American policy agenda, whereas Russia is hardly being regarded as an ally, particularly after violating the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which acts as the fundamental principle that requires European borders not be changed through force.
Significant of Ukraine to Russia
Russia decided to invade Ukraine after the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in November 2013 decided to sign the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement despite being warned of dire consequences by Russia. However, based on the U.S policy being pro-Europe, Russia knew very well that there was a possibility of the U.S military intervention to help Ukraine. Therefore, how the current crisis in Ukraine will end is very significant for Ukraine's future strategic orientation, because it will determine whether Kiev will have a chance of being allowed to freely select its independent foreign policy or it will forever remain under the influence of the Russian's political sphere. Moreover, the end of Ukraine crisis will determine the Russian's long-term political path and geostrategic orientation, because, without Ukraine, Russia will stop being a Eurasian empire. Nevertheless, if U.S does not help Ukraine through military means and Russia regain the control of Ukraine, then Moscow will automatically regain the wherewithal and become an imperial state, which dominates Asia and Europe. Besides, Ukraine poses a significant potential threat to political ideologies of the Vladimir Putin approach of authoritarian state capitalism. Therefore, a stable, democratic, and independent, oriented Ukraine, which borders Russia in the west, having close ties with the U.S and Europe pose a threat to the Russian state and other post-Soviet space since Russian civilians might in future demand for a similar more open form of the government system. Also, Ukraine is significant to Moscow, due to its close links to the defense field of Russia. Moreover, Russia heavily depends on the Ukraine's defense and aerospace industry.
Trends in the U.S military help to Ukraine
During the early time of independence, the U.S help was steered towards the reform of Ukraine's security sector, democratic society, and the emergence of a free market. However, during the 2000s and beginning of 2010s, the mode of assistance dwindled though it remained relatively stable. Of all these foreign aid security and peace programs accounted on average for 35%-40%. They included weapons sales, foreign military financing, assistance with military reforms, and military training. For a long time, arms sales in Ukraine were relatively stable, and this country was not even active campaigner of war against global terrorism, neither was this nation a past recipient of America military aid like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. Nevertheless, after the proclamation of independence, the Ukrainian government thought that there were no enemies against it and this caused the government to reduce the defense funding massively, the security reforms became stagnant, and weapon systems were sold or dismantled.
However, everything drastically changed after Russian invasion and the onset of hybrid warfare that portrayed how Ukraine army and state have degraded. It is because of this defense degradation since the conflict started that the Ukrainian government has been pleading U.S to provide them with military aid, such as counter-electronic systems, armored vests, anti-armor missiles, counter-artillery systems, troops, and other military supplies that Ukraine army does not have. From 2014 to 2015, the U.S government has been providing non-lethal military assistance to the Ukraine government. However, the majority of the professionals in war have argued that the only way that U.S can help Ukraine to stop Russian aggression is to provide them with the lethal military system and other military aid requested by the Ukrainian army.
So far, the hottest debate is on the providing Kiev's forces with lethal weapons. Even though this decision is alarming, sometimes weapons are significant towards the protection of civilians and their lives, especially when they face direct attacks from the rebel artillery fire. If weapons or military help is not provided to Ukraine, the conflict will only continue to last longer, and more casualties will continue being witnessed. Moreover, the U.S military assistance working together with the NATO-led defense capacity building program for the Ukrainian army will help to protect Ukraine areas from being destroyed and contain Russian-backed rebels. Also, when the U.S intervenes through military means, peace negotiations are much likely to prevail, and this will provide a durable peace. Even the U.S raising the necessity of providing lethal weapons to Ukraine helps to put Minsk negotiations back on track. The U.S is supposed to stop Russia's violent behavior by utilizing all means within its disposal because the U.S reputation as a Superpower will be tarnished if they fail to do something whereas the Russia will continue to overtake the European borders by force.
Furthermore, the U.S Congress passed the Ukraine Support Act during the Obama administration that outlined the military and economic aid that U.S government should provide to Ukraine, and at the same time imposed sanctions on Russia for violation of the Ukraine's territorial sovereignty. This Act allows the U.S government to provide a broader range of defensive military anti-tank and radar systems which are required by the Ukrainian army urgently. Even though Ukraine has been receiving immense military support, such as radar, drones, and armored vehicles and also training and joint exercises, the U.S still have not provided them with lethal defensive weapons and direct military intervention. On one side, strengthening Ukraine's defensive capability is significant to stopping Russia from continuing violation of the security order in Europe. Also, on the other, there are those military professionals who are arguing that providing Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons might act as a catalyst of escalating the conflict further.
Altogether, the U.S Congress repeatedly advocated for a more resolute help for Ukraine including the provision of lethal defensive weapons. Nevertheless, the U.S administration (Obama administration) was using a different style where they adopt a cautious approach which involves diplomatic efforts and more stringent sanctions, but the support they provide Ukraine through the military sphere is limited to non-lethal aid and training. As per now, the U.S has a new leader, that is, President Donald Trump and the U.S politicians are currently accusing the Russian government of helping Donald Trump to win the election. If these allegations are true, then Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin might start having a good working relationship which can either escalate war or bring peace. However, as per now, these allegations have not been confirmed, and both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have publicly disowned them and claimed they are just propaganda. But despite who is the President of the U.S and his relationship with Russia, the best scenario for Ukraine right now is more military support from U.S including closer cooperation with the NATO alliance and provision of lethal defensive weapons. Nevertheless, the worst scenario that can happen in Ukraine is the normalization of the America-Russian relations at the expense of eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
Although Congress passed an Act that allowed U.S government to provide Ukraine with all military aid necessary to stop Russia aggression, President Obama administration, preferred to assist Ukraine with non-lethal military aid. President Obama claimed that his administration was reviewing the provision of the lethal arm system to Ukraine. However, when Obama was condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine, he explained that his administration does not consider a military solution to end the conflict; instead, he preferred economic sanctions to punish Russia. On his argument against providing Ukraine with lethal weapons, President Obama said, the U.S arms might fall into the wrong hands, and they can also escalate the conflict. Nevertheless, Obama also stated that his administration would consider helping Ukraine with lethal weapons in case diplomacy failed. President Obama believed that the Minsk diplomatic process would succeed and his government was committed to providing Ukraine with financial aid and other military aid.
Constant cease-fire agreement violations
Currently, the Ukrainian government has suffered enormous military setbacks, since it is now clear that the ceasefire agreement is not working. According to NATO estimation, Russia-backed separatists invaded more than 600 kilometers square of territory in less than 16 weeks in 2016 together with Donetsk airport which is hotly contested. Moreover, the separatist leaders have claimed that they will recruit additional more than 110,000 fighters for war against Ukraine. Also, the European governments and U.S have been accusing Russia of providing the separatist with a significant amount of heavy weapons, such as heavy rocket launchers, artillery, heavy battle tanks, and armored. Moreover, according to NATO more than 1500 Russian advisers and combat troops are operating within Ukraine even though Ukraine believes this number is much more prominent. Nevertheless, Russia continues to deny that its advisers and soldiers are not in Ukraine and it is not part of what Moscow believes is Ukraine civil war. Moreover, Russia is accusing Ukraine of using exclusive military means to resolve the internal crisis.
In Congress, the Republican who is majority has been an excellent advocate for U.S to utilize more active military aid to solve the conflict in Ukraine. During 2016, both Senate and the House Armed Services Committees from the beginning of the debate regarding defense building in Ukraine, they recommended that U.S should provide lethal arm systems to Ukraine. When the bill was being drafted, Congress reserved $50 million to be used for lethal weapons as defensive mechanisms and increased security help to Kiev from $200 million to $300 million. If the lethal weapons as recommended by Congress can be provided to Ukraine by the U.S administration, then there is a high chance for Russian-backed separatist to honor the cease-fire agreement.
Senior Professional opinions
The U.S former top officials, such as U.S appointees to NATO, military commanders, ranking Pentagon and State Department officeholders, and diplomats have been urging the government and its NATO allies to strengthen their support to Ukraine through the urgent provision of military aid, such as defensive weapons and soldiers to stop Russian invasion. According to General Joseph Dunford, the European and U.S economic sanctions to Russia are essential, but they are not sufficient to stop Vladimir Putin aggression towards Ukraine and creating threat to the transatlantic community and Europe. According to these senior officials, the U.S is supposed to urgently provide Ukraine with more than $1 billion in military help and also provide armored Humvees, secure radios, light missiles to oppose tanks, and radar systems to detect artillery batteries.
Also, they proposed that other NATO countries are supposed to continue supplying weapons to Ukraine, though, according to them, this can only succeed if the U.S agrees to lead them. Most of the NATO countries, such as Britain, France, the Baltic States, Poland, and Canada are reluctant to start and pose the risk of political exposure, which means it is very crucial for the U.S government to respond positively to the Ukraine's call for defensive arms and other military aid. The majority of the Ukrainians fear that if Russia is not stopped, Vladimir Putin will continue to invade other parts of the eastern Ukraine where there is a significant Russian ethnic population. So far, more than 6,000 pro-Moscow demonstrators have been roaming to the central Donetsk in the east of Ukraine breaking windows and doors and forcing their way into the government buildings.
Also, the U.S Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, Chuck Hagel former Defense Secretary, Republican Senator John McCain, and John Kerry, former Secretary of State have all stated that the U.S should provide Ukraine with a lethal weapon system to protect itself from Russia-backed separatists. Also, Susan Rice, who is former President Obama national security adviser, now believes that providing Kiev with lethal military aid is the best way to safeguard its independence.
Furthermore, it's like Russia has sensed the U.S and NATO state's weakness, whereby though economic sanctions are working, they are not biting enough, which means something else like providing military aid is required to stop the Moscow onslaught in Ukraine. Once, the Ukraine start receiving all necessary military aid without restrictions from the U.S, it will help in increasing chances of ending the attacks. Moreover, the significance of the U.S, providing military aid to the Ukraine is not more, about enabling Ukraine to win the war, but it is more about salvaging Ukraine's independence and preventing them not to lose their integrity and agency. Also, when Russia attacked Ukraine they only expected the U.S and Europe to respond to statements and talks. However, this time new action, such as sanctions and military aid are necessary.
Also, if the U.S fears to provide Ukraine with the full lethal weapon system, they should consider enhancing non-lethal military aid which they are currently offering. For example, the U.S can provide advanced radar systems which can enable the Ukrainian army to neutralize the Russia-backed rebels' multiple launch rocket systems. Also, the U.S should provide more advanced reconnaissance drone and other electronic countermeasures that will help in combating drones under Russian or separatist control.
Furthermore, there is a need for secure communications equipment which Russian military will find hard to intercept, armored Humvees, and more advanced medical equipment. On the side of lethal aid, the U.S can consider providing Kiev with light anti-armor missiles that would greatly help in countering Russia-backed rebels armored personnel carriers and tanks. Moreover, the U.S and NATO allies should consider providing the Ukraine military with Russia antiaircraft technology and also modernize Ukraine air defenses. Also, the U.S and NATO military expert should be deployed in Ukraine to oversee the utilization of the sophisticated technological lethal weapons.
What had been happening
Currently, the crisis in eastern Ukraine is deteriorating and urgent. Russia is no longer hiding its support for the separatists, and there is a substantial flow of weapons. Also, the fighting within the line of contact has significantly continued to increase since 19th January 2016 until now. Moreover, the ruler of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko stated that Russia-backed separatists would take over all the remaining part Donetsk Oblast. So far, there are a vast number of the Russian soldiers that remain deployed within the border, and they are ready to enter Ukraine at any time.
The separatist and Russian forces have the largest capacity of fuelling further offensive military action either to develop a land bridge between the Crimea and Russia by having effective control of southeastern Ukraine or, to gain control of the entire Donbas region. Therefore, any offensive move taken by the separatist and Russian forces can further destabilize Ukraine or act as a derail to the prospect for a peaceful settlement. If this happens, the costs to the U.S of maintaining Ukraine independent and integrity will only continue to increase, and Russian might continue taking further actions to worsen the situation. Although some analysts argues that it is not likely for this action to happen, in 2013 many analysts never thought that the Russian military would invade Donbas and seize Crimea.
During the time of the post-Second World War, the European countries agreed to create a safer Europe to protect it from threat and a Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe Final Act was decided in 1975 and Russia agreed to honor the 'inviolability of borders.' But after Russia military invaded Donbas and seized Crimea, it violated this agreement. Furthermore, U.S is the signatory of the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 concerning the Security Assurance for Ukraine. In that Memorandum, Russia, Britain, and U.S agreed to respect territorial integrity, independence, and Sovereignty of Ukraine, and not to threaten or utilize force against Ukraine. So far, Russia has violated all these commitments that were core decision for Kyiv's to end its nuclear weapons. It is now because of these continuous Russia violations of commitments and violence against Ukraine that the NATO allies and U.S should consider providing military aid, including lethal weapons for Ukraine military and help them defend against increased Moscow aggression.
Donald Trump administration
When Jim Mattis, who is the U.S Defense Secretary, visited Ukraine, he assured the Ukraine government that U.S would continue to pressure Russia to stop its aggressive behaviors towards Ukraine. Moreover, Jim Mattis assured the Ukrainian government that Trump administration would continue to provide funding and military aid to Ukraine. Also, he stated that the Donald Trump is considering giving lethal weapons to the Ukrainian army if Russia does not bound by political and diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions. Also, Mattis admitted that U.S administration is being concerned with the fact that Moscow has refused to honor the Minsk ceasefire agreement that was intended to end the conflict between the separatist and eastern Ukraine. Furthermore, Mattis boosted Ukraine government confidence when he stated that Ukraine could be provided with lethal defensive arm systems since they are not the aggressor and they are trying to protect their territory that is being invaded by separatists and Russia.

The provision of military aid to Ukraine including the provision of lethal weapons should not be viewed as a reason for U.S to honor its commitments under international agreements, but it should be considered as a significant thing that will help to protect the credibility of security assurance towards the future of Ukraine government and citizens. Also, more significant beyond the concerns of Ukraine future, is the capability of the U.S as Superpower to respond and resolve the European challenges and Eurasian security that is threatened by the Kremlin's aggressive policies. Moreover, Russia has violated all the cardinal rules of post-Second World War that prohibits any country from using military strength to change international borders. Kremlin and Putin have cited legally dubious and unique right to protect Russian speaker and ethnic Russian whatever their citizenship and wherever they are located. Putin provided this justification to support the Russian military invasion of eastern Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea, irrespective of the fact that Moscow never presented credible evidence to show that ethnic Russians in Crimea were under threat. Moreover, it is now clear that Russian policies pose a significant danger to Russia's neighbors in Eurasia, North Atlantic, Ukraine, and full European security. If the U.S and NATO ally do not support Ukraine adequately through military aid, Russia can conclude that it will be using these kinds of tactics to harass other countries without any consequences.


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