U.S. Warns NATO Allies of Possible Russian Invasion in Ukraine

There is a major Ukraine alert at the capital, Washington, DC. Russia's long-standing amassing of military forces near the Ukraine borders, in addition to Putin's steps to send some of the navy ships to the Black Sea, have increased the USA's concerns about the possibility of Russia invading a large portion of Ukraine. Yes, you didn't hear it wrong: a considerable part, including Odessa. So what is the U.S. doing about this? We found out that European countries within NATO, while warning allies such as Turkey that there is a small-time window to prevent military intervention in Ukraine, are also urging them to work closely with the U.S. in order to develop a package of economic and military measures to dissuade Moscow. American officials believe that It is unclear what Russia is planning to do with the military buildup near Ukraine. However, the buildup is taken seriously, and the U.S. does not assume that it is a bluff, meaning that the Biden administration is growing more convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering military action either to seize a more significant portion of Ukraine or to create enough instability to form a more Pro-Moscow government.

Last month,while the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov, the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Valery Zaluzhny about the military mobilization on the Ukrainian border and the possibilities. At the same time, it is good to recall that Avril D. Haines, the Director of National Intelligence, had traveled to Brussels last month in order to brief the NATO ambassadors about the American intelligence and possible Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Recently, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Lavrov met in Stockholm to discuss the tension in the region. There will be video call  next week between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, amid tensions over the conflict in Ukraine.

On the US-Turkey side, the statements suggesting that Ukraine was also discussed during the phone call that the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had with President's Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin are noteworthy.Turkey is ready to act as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia but Russia already declined Turkey's proposal. We have seen NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg offer his own statements on Russia. Stoltenberg commented on the "large and unusual" concentration of Russian forces on Ukraine's border. "It is urgent that Russia shows transparency about its military buildup, de-escalate and reduce tensions," he stated.

Probabilities in Europe

With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany leaving the world stage, there is less pressure on Ukraine to make concessions. Without a coalition in Germany, there is not much leadership in Berlin. Rising energy prices have made Europe more dependent on cheap Russian gas supplies, especially as winter becomes more challenging and gas reserves in Europe drop further. Fear of losing access to Russian energy could limit Europe's support of tough sanctions. The U.S. wants to create a "common prescription" of actions they would abide by together with Europe, should Russia move against Ukraine with its military. While there are parts of Russia's economy that have not been subjected to sanctions, the United States will need to build support in Europe for new measures to be effective. We can say that there are experts stating that another factor must be taken into account: the West may not be able to take significant steps in new military operations since Russian President Putin knows that during the Obama-Biden Administration, the U.S. and Europe were inadequate during the annexation of Crimea. At the same time, officials say that the NATO countries need to be mindful that the Belarusian crisis and troop buildup on Ukraine's border are occurring at the same time.

Townsend, a former senior Pentagon official who is well-known to Turkey, said, "We have to be ready to be tough. Putin acts quickly.I think he likes distracting and stalling off. He has the chance to play a game. All eyes are on the Belarusian border.Meanwhile, he is putting together what he thinks might be required when going to Ukraine. We don't have to bomb anything. But we have to be clever in how we show our military capacity." 

Michael McCaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, said, "To respond to Russia's provocative measures on Ukraine's borders, yes, Biden should talk to Putin and at the same time send more anti-tank Javelin missiles and get the Turks to send more armed drones to Ukraine. Ukrainians must be allowed to defend themselves."

What Will Turkey Do?

No matter how tense Turkish-American relations are, the possible developments regarding Ukraine may require the two NATO allies to work closely. We know that Turkey openly condemned Russia for the annexation of Crimea. I assume that we will enter a period in which dialogues between American and Turkish military officials will increase. We can state that for more than a year in Washington, DC, there have been both official and civil security experts making statements on Turkey's power over the Black Sea, and the U.S. should work more closely with Turkey. I can say that I expect Turkey to comply with all the decisions made by NATO in order to avoid conflict in case of Russian military action. The question in DC is what NATO and neighboring NATO countries can possibly do about Putin's actions towards dividing Ukraine from multiple sides, whether from the land or the Black Sea.

I hope that mistakes were learned from the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. Ukraine's membership in NATO should be considered as soon as possible. If Ukraine were a NATO member, Russian would not dare plan to invade Ukraine, or we would not be talking about this unexpected development now. Let's not wait to see Russia illegally capture more land from Ukraine or other Eastern European countries. 

It's time that all NATO members unite stronger than ever.

  • Published in Politics

Recent Developments in Ukraine

Ali Cinar interviewed three distinguished experts on Russian aggression in the region. US forces in Europe are on higher alert, citing "escalations of Russian aggression" in the area. President Biden spoke with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week  and  "affirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s aggression in the Donbas and Crimea,”

H.E. Dan Herbst, Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and Director,Atlantic Council:

Moscow has pursued an aggressive policy in eastern europe and the Caucasus since at least its cyber attack on estonia in 2007. Western response to the Kremlin War on Georgia and seizure of Crimea was late and weak, which only encouraged further aggression in donbas and provocations elsewhere.   Finally, after the shootdown of mh17 in the summer of 2914, the EU joined the  U.S. in placing punishing sanctions on Russia for its  aggression in Ukraine. And by the fall of 2015, the U.S. began to provide significant military aid to Ukraine and in late 2017, javelins, tank killers.  In other words, it took years for the west to develop a sensible,  strong policy to thwart kremlin revisionism. 

President Biden understands this and that is why he mentioned Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine in his first call with Putin. His administration moved smartly this past week with phone calls from the whole national security team to Kyiv expressing support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s military buildup in northern Crimea and along Ukraine’s eastern border.  This was a timely warning to Moscow not to escalate its aggression against Ukraine.  

Regarding Crimea, the U.S. has a sound policy in place, the Pompeo doctrine.  That is a policy of non-recognition of Moscow’s illegal control there, and sanctions for firms operating there. The point is to raise the price on the kremlin for its aggression. 

To contain the kremlin in Ukraine and the broader black sea region, the U.S. should work to enhance cooperation among its NATO  allies and friendly countries such as Ukraine,Georgia and perhaps Moldova.  Washington should promote joint exercises and eventually contingency planning.  

Andrij Dobriansky, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America,Director of Communications;

I am looking to Putin’s actions in Georgia in 2008 as a guide: Russian media and social media in occupied Donbas has been telling those citizens that Ukraine is about to “invade” Russia’s occupied territories. This is what Russia said about Georgia in 2008 as an excuse to invade them. Also in 2008 the world was focused on the Olympics, while this time the west is focused on Easter (Ukraine and Russia celebrate in May)

The US is already in a different position: US advisors are on the ground in Ukraine and are able to travel wherever they need to (President Obama prevented them from traveling east of Kyiv) Also, the flyover and naval deployments to the Black Sea are a regular part of the US schedule now. U.S. will be able to report themselves what they see happening and be able to counter Russian disinformation narratives, In the next 3-5 months we expect a US ambassador on the ground in Kyiv and a special negotiator from the US appointed to replace a Volker

We’re at a critical point this week with Russia’s bulldup. If nothing escalates in the next 2 weeks, we go back to the status quo. Putin is trying to gain leverage in international negotiations: Nordstream, sanctions relief, Ukraine getting closer to NATO

Ayla Bakkalli, Representative of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar and Advisor, Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations on Indigenous Matters Member of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars,

Ukraine’s historical nemesis Russian Federation has resurrected its familiar post-soviet aggression once again with the increase of military build up on its border. What are the grounds for this unprovoked action as Russia is flooding Crimea trains full of tanks and military build up in Eastern Ukraine and the increase in the militarization of the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine has prompted Ukrainian to meet up with the meet up 

Sec of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian FM Dmityr Kuleba, US Chiefs of Staff Mark Millie speaking with his Ukrainian counterpart Mr. Ruslan Khomchak . I believe Mr. Mark Millley also speak with first deputy Minister of Defense of Russia, Valery Gersimov and , between US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Head of the President of Ukraine’s office , Andrew Ermak.Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby brought it up the topic on the military build up with its NATO allies. 

General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO was the feature speaker alongside with the Defense Attache of Ukraine, Major Volodymyr Havrylov  at a virtual panel hosted by Manor College several weeks ago on March 18, discussed the systematic aggression of Ukrainian sovereign lands.  

A human face to the militarization with the continual persecution of Ukraine’s indigenous people the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian activists have become the occupiers target. Again, Russia continues its hybrid occupation with a hybrid deportation strategy. To date, based on Ukrainian statistics 50,000 have left Crimea to the Crimean mainland.

They are imprisoned on the basis: freedom of religion,freedom of speech ,freedom of association and freedom of conscience .

Crimean Tatars remain locked down fearful that their father, brother, son, husband will be the next target.  Most of the people who are imprisoned for political reasons in Crimea are innocent Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian activists.  International community should rethink:  

  • I suppose it is high time to reassess that the Normandy format is not working and a new form of diplomacy which will develop organically given the continual changes on the ground in occupied Ukrainian territories. 
  • Time has made the decision on behalf of Ukraine a need for national security strategy involving use of its national power and at the same time Ukraine is committed to resolving this issue through peaceful and diplomatic means given the risk 
  • It is important for the international community to hear the many voices in occupied lands of Ukraine and take seriously that Ukraine’s civil society is at the front lines both nationally and internationally. 

Journalist, Ali Cinar

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