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Here’s what a realistic Ukraine settlement may look like

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12.09.2017

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wants the Trump administration to supply Ukraine with “defensive weapons” to combat the Russian-supported separatists occupying parts of eastern Ukraine's Donbass region. On a recent visit to Kiev, Mattis told a news conference that these weapons “are not provocative unless you are an aggressor, and clearly Ukraine is not an aggressor.”

While Mattis stressed that Donald Trump has not yet made a decision on arming Ukraine, there are certainly legitimate arguments for doing so. Moscow illegally annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March, 2014, and the Kremlin supplies both arms and Russian troops to its separatist proxies the so-called "Donetsk Peoples' Republic" (DNR) and "Luhansk Peoples Republic" (LNR) - fighting Ukrainian troops. Arming Kiev would help it better confront this Russian threat while also permitting Washington to send a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that changing borders by force is unacceptable.

But however justified the outrage over Moscow’s behavior, retaliation is risky. If the U.S. arms Ukraine, the Kremlin will almost certainly respond in ways that could damage American national security interests. For a start, Russia could escalate the violence by sending additional troops or arms to support its separatist proxies there - something Putin already implied would happen. Trump could then face pressure to send more weapons - thereby escalating Russian-American tensions.

Russia could also retaliate against U.S. interests in other parts of the world. In North Korea, it could undermine the American-driven sanctions........

© Japan Today