Defying Obama, Many in Congress Press to Arm Ukraine
The bipartisan pressure developing on Capitol Hill, however, comes at an awkward time. Mr. Putin in recent days has repeatedly blamed the Ukrainian government for continuing cease-fire violations, while calling on the United States and its European allies to pressure Kiev to fully put the peace accord in place.
That has set the stage for a pitched debate between lawmakers and the White House that could well undermine Mr. Obama’s repeated assertion that the United States sees no military solution to the conflict in Ukraine.
Reflecting the view of many experts, Mr. Rojansky added, “There are valid arguments on both sides but you don’t get to walk this back. Once we have done this we become a belligerent party in a proxy war with Russia, the only country on earth that can destroy the United States. That’s why this is a big deal.”
Lawmakers who oppose sending weapons to Ukraine note that Washington could never send enough hardware for Ukraine to defeat Russian-backed forces militarily. And it is not clear that the Ukrainian military is sufficiently trained to make proper use of American weapons without substantial assistance by American military personnel, or that the weapons would not end up in enemy hands.
“If you’re playing chess with Russia you have to think two moves ahead,” said Senator Angus King, independent of Maine, who is among those lawmakers skeptical of providing arms. “I am afraid this could provoke a major East-West confrontation.”
Julia Osmolovskaya, the managing partner of the Institute of Negotiation Skills, a mediation group in Kiev, said Ukrainians were divided over the potential benefits of receiving weapons from the United States and the inherent risk of stoking further violence, and also perplexed by Washington’s mixed messages.
- Localisation : Russie
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