USA/UKRAINE: Following the meeting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on April 24, Kiev is seemingly more determined to not negotiate with Moscow to bring an end to the war. In fact, the US is only encouraging and emboldening Ukraine to continue its war effort despite little prospect for victory. Essentially, the US is hoping Ukraine will be a permanent issue for Russia, and for his part, Zelensky is happily submitting to this demand that will ensure the war will wage on longer than necessary.
Speaking at a news conference at an undisclosed location in Poland near the Ukrainian border, Austin said:
“We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine. So it has already lost a lot of military capability. And a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability.”
Blinken for his part told reporters that Vladimir Putin’s attempts to “subjugate Ukraine and take its independence” has “failed” and that as a “result of sanctions” the Russian economy “is in shambles.”
Despite the reality on the ground that the Russian military are on Kiev’s doorstep and that town after town are being captured by Russian-backed separatist forces in Donbass, the top US officials are still encouraging Ukraine to continue its war effort by disingenuously claiming that the Russian military has lost “capability” and admitting that their goal is to see Russia permanently weakened.
In this way, it appears that Austin hopes Ukraine can become some kind of quagmire for Russia that will absorb a lot of its resources, energy and focus – something akin to the 20-year American occupation of Afghanistan. Because of this, Kiev will certainly become more defiant in its negotiations with Moscow.
In support of this endeavour, Austin announced that the US would allocate more than $700 million in direct and indirect military assistance to Ukraine. As reported by the New York Times, the trip to Kiev was planned in top-secret conditions, with Blinken and Austin flying on a US Air Force cargo plane, accompanied by a handful of officials from the departments.
Blinken and Austin’s trip to Kiev was the first by senior US officials to Ukraine since the war began, making it all the more symbolic as it comes at a time when Russian forces are engaged in a massive campaign in Donbass that has already seen major settlements fall and elements of the Ukrainian military and their neo-Nazi Azov Battalion allies reduced to holding nothing but a single factory in the major port city of Mariupol.
A National Security Council spokesperson said on April 21 that the US wants Ukraine to win and “that’s why we’re doing everything we can to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to strengthen the Ukrainians’ hands on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.”
Even if Ukraine agrees to maintain a neutral status with external security guarantees, there is every possibility that in only a few years’ time there could be a new Maidan coup in Kiev. This possibility has already made Moscow suspicious, but the US commitment to help Ukraine weaken Russia only heightens this.
The US hosted in Germany on April 26 talks on Ukraine that were led by Austin. General Mark Milley, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, said a key goal of the talks was to coordinate mounting security assistance to Kiev that included heavy weaponry, such as howitzers, as well as armed drones and ammunition.
“The next several weeks will be very, very critical,” Milley said. “They need continued support in order to be successful on the battlefield. And that’s really the purpose of this conference.”
In this way, it again highlights that the West is not seeking a way to conclude the war, but a way to maintain it for as long as possible in the daft hope that the Russian military weakens to significant proportions that it will no longer be able to defend its interests, whether it be in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Middle East or elsewhere. Not only will this Western hope fail to materialize, but it also prolongs the suffering of the Ukrainian people.
by Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.
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