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 »
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
3 days ago
THE LATEST
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
4 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
QUESTIONS OVER IMMIGRATION POLICY
Trump Cancels Rallies
5 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Source:
‘STRATEGY AND MESSAGING’
Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
6 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Source:
×