Another day in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine standoff and another US weapons shipment has arrived in Kiev, despite all sides ostensibly continuing to push for a diplomatic solution and the avoidance of military conflict.
On Tuesday Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced his country has received a new shipment of "500 tons of defense equipment" from the United States. "The day hasn’t passed yet and we’re unloading the 6th bird from our friends from the U.S.! 84 tons of ammunition arrived in Kyiv!" he wrote on Twitter.
We vastly prefer the path of dialogue and diplomacy, but we will continue to provide Ukraine the defensive assistance needed to defend against Russia's massive military force assembled on its borders. We #StandWithUkraine https://t.co/XRDq2gB7N0— U.S. Embassy Kyiv (@USEmbassyKyiv) February 1, 2022
The US Embassy in Kyiv in a vaguely threatening carrot-and-stick style message responded with the following aimed at Moscow: "we vastly prefer the path of dialogue and diplomacy, but we will continue to provide Ukraine the defensive assistance needed to defend against Russia's massive military force assembled on its borders."
In a later statement, the embassy posted the following: "We know Russian efforts to destabilize Ukraine are part of their playbook. We've all seen it before, and we should expect to see more. We applaud the vigilance of Ukraine's law enforcement and security services at this critical time."
The accusatory statement linked to a report wherein a Ukrainian government official alleged a Russian plot to foment a riot in the center of Kiev using up to 5,000 agent provocateurs on the ground. Officials suggested the 'false flag' scenario would be geared destabilizing the government in favor of installing pro-Kremlin leadership.
Also on Tuesday US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is holding a key phone call with his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. "We expect the Secretary will have an opportunity to speak by phone with Foreign Minister Lavrov tomorrow morning," the State Department had said Monday.
So far it appears Russia has yet to respond to last week's hand delivered official Washington response to Moscow's security demands of NATO. According to Russian media, "Claims from US officials that Moscow has responded to America’s proposals on de-escalation in Ukraine are inaccurate, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced. It confirmed that the two sides are in talks about security in Europe but denied that a formal answer had been given."
"The Americans are using Ukraine against Russia so openly and cynically that the Kiev regime itself is now scared." pic.twitter.com/mBYj5eMvPU— Clint Ehrlich (@ClintEhrlich) January 31, 2022
Meanwhile, the White House says it's put together a "specific sanctions packages" that would target Putin's inner circle as well as key oligarchs in the event Russia invaded Ukraine.
"The individuals we’ve identified are near the inner circle of the Kremlin and play a role in government decision-making or, at a minimum, are complicit in the Kremlin’s destabilizing behavior," White House press secretary Psaki said Monday, noting that "many of these invidious are particularly vulnerable targets because of their deep and financial ties with the West."