Washington looks to be throwing more than the full faith and credit of the US government behind Ukraine. On the heels of news that the US is set to guarantee a Ukrainian international bond issue (while Greek pensioners implicitly subsidize the country’s natural gas exports), NATO is in the midst of conducting large scale military maneuvers along the Russian border in a move Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says encourages “Kiev to pursue a military solution.” Over the course of 10 days, NATO will parade 120 combat vehicles across the region in an effort to prove how quickly the West can confront perceived Russian aggression. Here’s more from Military News:
The [Russian] ministry warned that it hopes Europe "does see the risk of unconditionally following advice from U.S. generals and will not opt for approaches that will rule out the risk of a slide towards a military confrontation between Russia and NATO."
While the U.S. Army acknowledges the convoy's movement is "a highly visible demonstration of U.S. commitment to its NATO allies," Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the commander of U.S. Army Europe, insists "the focus should be on what is the desired end state, and can we get there using diplomatic and economic pressure and support."
So basically, the US is saying the following: “...although we’re intent on showing just how quickly we can deploy our forces in the event an armed confrontation becomes necessary, we hope you’ll see this for what it is which is our best effort demonstrate that we long for a peaceful solution.” We’ll let you judge for yourself how committed the West is to a peaceful resolution (note the US soldier teaching the small child how to fire a high caliber weapon):
And the US is particularly proud of the fact that it has created a wall of troops along the Russian border:
Meanwhile, US officials don’t understand why anyone would see this as hypocritical. As RT reports, the US State Department’s press official Jeff Rathe “would disagree” with the notion that the US is conductig precisely the types of exercises for which it has previsously condemned Russia:
When asked why the US was condemning Russian exercises inside Russia, State Department press official Jeff Rathke told RT no such statement had ever been made.
While the US has not criticized every military drill conducted by the Kremlin, last August State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Russia’s aviation exercises are “provocative and only serve to escalate tensions.”
“Wouldn’t US and NATO maneuvers on Russian borders, at a time when the West and Russia are at odds over the crisis in Ukraine, also “raise tensions?” asked AP diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee.
“We would disagree with that,” replied Rathke.
In the meantime, Moscow isn’t particularly pleased with Denmark’s eight month old move to join NATO’s missile defense shield, as Russia’s Ambassador to Denmark Mikhail Vanin subtly warned that joining the effort would subject Danish ships to strikes by Russian nuclear missiles and besides, the effort would ultimately be in vain as Moscow has nukes capable of infiltrating the West’s defenses. Here’s more from The Telegraph:
“I don’t think that Danes fully understand the consequence if Denmark joins the American-led missile defence shield. If they do, then Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles,” said Mikhail Vanin, the Russian ambassador to Denmark, to the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
“Denmark would be part of the threat against Russia. It would be less peaceful and relations with Russia will suffer. It is, of course, your own decision - I just want to remind you that your finances and security will suffer. At the same time Russia has missiles that certainly can penetrate the future global missile defence system,” Mr Vanin said.
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It would certainly appear from the above that geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe are now running at a fever pitch and with Washington prone to adopting an extra defensive position thanks to what appear to be shifting economic alliances among its staunchest allies, we wouldn’t expect the posturing to die down on either side in the foreseeable future.