WASHINGTON D.C., April 15th, 2022. A formal diplomatic note from Moscow, a copy of which made it to the Washington Post, requested in strong terms for the White House to cease its endless packages of sophisticated weapons to the Ukrainian military, something that analysts for weeks have been warning could make the U.S. a belligerent in the conflict.
Furthermore, the weapons deliveries risk the obvious threat, as Moscow warned, of being targeted by precision attacks by the Russian military, thereby creating a scenario in which NATO or U.S. forces might be killed by a country maintaining more than a third of the world’s nuclear weapons.
The diplomatic note was sent last Tuesday, when news broke of the latest massive gun-running action for Ukraine. President Biden announced the new aid on Wednesday, which is worth $800 million and includes howitzers for the first time, which it has since been reported will come with direct U.S. training for Ukrainian use; outside the country to protect from Russian retaliation.
The note was sent by the Russian Federation Embassy in Washington D.C., manned by very few diplomats after the Biden Administration expelled around 100 of them. The ambassador, Anatoly Antonov recently sat down with Politico for something in between an interview and a hit piece, in which he essentially explained that he and his bare-bones staff are under “blockade”.
No one is willing to see or speak to the ambassador, even with relations between the U.S. and Russia at such historic lows, and with 4 of the 5 nuclear weapons limitations agreements from the Soviet Union days now killed by the previous three American presidents.
“We are doomed to cooperate on various issues,” Antonov maintains. “It’s impossible to imagine even under such circumstances that problems of strategic stability, climate change… fighting against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction could be solved without active engagement of the United States and Russia”.
“They have targeted supply depots in Ukraine itself, where some of these supplies have been stored,” George Beebe, former director of Russia analysis at the CIA, told the Post regarding the formal note.
“The real question is do they go beyond attempting to target [the weapons] on Ukrainian territory, try to hit the supply convoys themselves and perhaps the NATO countries on the Ukrainian periphery [that serve as transfer points for the U.S. supplies]”.
It’s nothing that the U.S. has not done before. During the occupation of Afghanistan, President Obama conducted a massive systematic assassination campaign using drones in neighboring Pakistan without the country’s consent, because it was thought terrorists were moving across borders.
In the war to occupy and conquer Vietnam, the U.S. conducted a secret carpet bombing campaign known as Operation Menu along the Ho Chi Minh Trail that killed hundreds of thousands of Cambodians, even though their country was neither Communist nor a belligerent.
With the conflict in Ukraine evolving as Russia abandons besieging Kyiv to turn its attention to the East, ceasefire talks that were happening almost daily at the outset, are rarely discussed in the news.
The Post has reported that few NATO military and civilian leaders desire to see the war end. Speaking with some on conditions of anonymity, and some who were happy to go on record, it makes for grim reading if you’re a Ukrainian.
“There is an unfortunate dilemma,” one diplomat explained. “The problem is that if it ends now, there is a kind of time for Russia to regroup, and it will restart, under this or another pretext,” they said, without providing evidence or specifics.
“I hope they will be hard as steel. I support maximum military support and maximum sanctions,” Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said in an interview. “Russia must lose and criminals should stand in court”.
“It’s a little tricky for the U.S. and other allies. … They don’t want something to come out of the negotiation that isn’t implementable,” Alexander Vershbow, a former NATO deputy secretary general, told the Post.
Russian military officials will certainly be aware of these comments, and thus have likely moved on to take Donbas Province by force, rather than putting it on the negotiating table as they had been doing.