Kiev: American envoy says U.S. supports Ukraine against “Russian aggression”
Today’s Interfax Ukraine reports American chargé d’affaires to Ukraine Kristina Kvien adjuring Russia to cease “aggressive actions” against Ukraine – though she didn’t cite any specific examples of such actions – or it would face consequences. What in diplomatic language is called diktat. It’s not for nothing that Kvien has a master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College.
Also presuming to speak on behalf of America’s military cohorts – that is, fellow NATO members and partners – she asserted, “The United States and our NATO Allies and partners in Europe are deeply concerned about this escalation.” The latter is a reference to her claim that Russian troops are being reinforced to the east of the Donbass and in Crimea; which is to say in Russian territory. How such measures constitute aggression is best left to Kvien to explain.
One doesn’t even have to be a full ambassador to thunder against Russia nowadays; even understrappers feel entitled to join in the orgy of excoriation. With assumed omniscience that would put a sideshow clairvoyant to shame, she concluded her comments with this steadfast pronouncement: “And in addition to this provocative buildup of troops, the government of Russia continues to conduct a disinformation campaign, falsely claiming Ukraine is escalating tensions. Let me make crystal clear – my team at the U.S. Embassy and I know first hand – Ukraine was not, and is not, taking provocative actions against Russia. In fact, Ukraine has demonstrated admirable restraint in the face of Russia’s intimidation and aggression.”
One is tempted to believe that anything Russia does, even actions of a strictly routine and defensive character, will be construed by American officials as acts of aggression. The only way that Ms. Kvien could know with such certainty what Ukrainian armed forces are or are not doing on the battle line with the Donbass is if those forces were faithfully fulfilling U.S. directives there.
And in a tone that appears more threat than admonition, with full acknowledgement of the role the Pentagon had in bringing it about, she added that the Ukrainian military of 2021 is not that of 2014, but instead is “one of the most capable battle-ready forces in Europe today – and the United States is proud that our cooperative security efforts have supported this impressive development.” Her brash saber-rattling is confirmation of the fact that the U.S., in upgrading the warfighting capabilities of the Ukrainian armed forces for a future war with Russia, is an accessory to any such armed conflict.
Emboldened by such staunch American support and encouragement, no doubt, Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, applauded the role of government troops in the opening days of what has now become an over-seven-year war in 2014 for “their worthy service in the ATO zone!” ATO are the initials for Anti-Terrorist Operation, the name at the time of the government offensive against the people of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass. The defenders of those two republics know what vengeance would be dished out to people described as terrorists should they fall prey to government forces. Especially the likes of the Azov Battalion.
In a Facebook posting that could have emanated from the prime minister of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick in a more-than-usually-grandiose mood, Avakov shared this exalted comic opera rodomontade today:
“The Putin regime is again accumulating military forces near the borders of Ukraine, threatening with new aggression!…We are on our land and will defend ourselves! Today it is extremely important to respond to the threat in a joint and adequate manner: by concentrating all patriotic forces of Ukraine around a common goal – to resolutely rebuff possible provocations and aggression! The consolidated forces of statesmen and civil patriotic veterans – the regular forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the reservists – must, by uniting, stand up to defend their country.”
Someone is decidedly itching for a fight. More, one suspects, statesmen than “civil patriotic veterans,” and perhaps more American than Ukrainian statesmen.