The Ukraine Crisis Has Escalated — Again. Now What?

A U.S. response to the latest Russian provocations may take a while.

Pro-Ukrainian supporters rally in front of policemen guarding the Russian consulate in Odessa on June 16, demanding the Russian flag there be flown at half mast to commemorate the 49 Ukrainian troops killed in the downing of a military plane.
National Journal
Marina Koren
June 16, 2014, 10:20 a.m.

Two weeks ago, Pres­id­ent Obama warned Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin that Rus­sia would face “ad­di­tion­al costs” if it didn’t stop fan­ning the sep­ar­at­ist fire in east­ern Ukraine.

Then on Fri­day, Rus­sia sent tanks, rock­et launch­ers, and oth­er weapons to sep­ar­at­ists in east­ern Ukraine, ac­cord­ing to the State De­part­ment. The day after, Rus­si­an-backed mil­it­ants shot down a Ukrain­i­an mil­it­ary plane, killing the 49 people aboard — the dead­li­est event since un­rest began Feb­ru­ary.

And on Monday, Rus­sia cut off its gas sup­ply to Ukraine.

The Ukraine crisis has quickly es­cal­ated in a mat­ter of days — yet again. But wheth­er the re­cent events are enough for more U.S. ac­tion against Rus­si­an pro­voca­tion in the com­ing weeks re­mains un­clear.

A Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil spokes­wo­man said Monday that the U.S. con­tin­ues to urge Rus­sia to pull its sup­port from sep­ar­at­ist groups and stop the flow of arms across the bor­der. For now, it looks as if the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is stick­ing to its usu­al tac­tic in this crisis — play­ing the wait-and-see game as Putin makes prom­ises to dis­en­gage from the re­gion.

“The mere fact that some of the Rus­si­an sol­diers have moved back from the bor­der and that Rus­sia is now destabil­iz­ing Ukraine through sur­rog­ates, rather than overtly and ex­pli­citly, does not mean that we can af­ford three months, or four months, or six months, of con­tin­ued vi­ol­ence and con­flict in east­ern Ukraine,” Obama said dur­ing the G-7 sum­mit at the be­gin­ning of this month.

But talk of sanc­tions is es­pe­cially un­likely to come in the im­me­di­ate weeks. All eyes are on the de­teri­or­at­ing situ­ation in Ir­aq right now, a real­ity that buys Rus­sia time. With the ad­min­is­tra­tion dis­trac­ted by events in the Middle East, Putin may be think­ing he has ad­di­tion­al wiggle room for more med­dling in Ukraine.

What We're Following See More »
“CLINTON MUST BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT”
Bernie Sanders Seeks to Unite the Party
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."

“MUST NEVER BE PRESIDENT”
Elizabeth Warren Goes After Donald Trump
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.

FLOTUS OFFERS STRONG ENDORSEMENT OF CLINTON
Michelle Obama: “I Trust” Hillary Clinton
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.

SANDERS BACKER CONFRONTS STUBBORN SANDERS SUPPORTERS
Sarah Silverman to Bernie or Bust: “You’re Being Ridiculous”
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.

‘INEXCUSABLE REMARKS’
DNC Formally Apologizes to Bernie Sanders
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."

Source:
×