A test of American resolve

The Kyiv Post reported yesterday:

U.S. President Joe Biden on April 2 held his first phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky amid Russian military buildup near Ukrainian borders.

According to Politico,

The conversation follows at least three high-level calls between the U.S. and Ukraine this week between Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and their Ukrainian counterparts.

Russia has built up and wound down (but never to zero) its military presence at the border with Ukraine more than once since 2014. Those displays of force have stoked fears of an imminent invasion more than once, too. The ongoing one is undoubtedly a major escalation on Russia’s part, according to various reports.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said that the escalation “is systemic and the largest it’s been in recent years.”

As Kuleba told the BBC, this time Russia seems prepared to attack in three directions:

…a build-up of Russian military at the northern border between Ukraine and Russia, along the eastern border and “also in the illegally occupied Crimea”.

According to a senior but unnamed Ukrainian official, Russia could be planning for…

…a possible incursion into mainland Ukraine from Crimea to seize the canals that were shut off after Moscow annexed the peninsula.

For weeks and months now, Russian media have been pushing the obviously fake narrative of Ukraine’s preparing a major offensive in the East. To some sensitive ears, this Russian chorus sounds like a prelude to a new Gleiwitz incident. Or, perhaps, a new staging of the shelling of Mainila.

On April 1, the U.S. Department of Defense stated its commitment “not to leave Ukraine alone” in case of a large-scale invasion by Russia.

A welcome statement, long overdue. However, America’s ability to deliver on this promise may be tested within weeks or even days.

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