NATO-generalen Philip Breedlove og viseutenriksminister Victoria Nuland sa på Brussel-konferansen i helgen at det fortsatt strømmer russiske våpen inn i Øst-Ukraina, og de blir stadig mer avanserte.
Dette er stikk i strid med våpenhvileavtalen som ble inngått i Minsk.
EU er i vånde. Unionen vil gjerne lette på sanksjonene og griper ethvert halmstrå som kan kalles fremgang.
The allegations were made by Philip Breedlove, a US general who is Nato’s military commander, and Victoria Nuland, the US State Department’s top diplomat on Ukraine, at the Brussels Forum, an annual symposium held over the weekend.
“We continue to see disturbing elements of air defence, command and control, resupply and equipment coming across a completely porous border”, Breedlove told the Brussels event.
Nuland said: “We have seen, month on month, more lethal weaponry of a higher calibre, of more sophistication, poured into Ukraine … the number one thing is for Russia to stop sending arms over the border so that we can have real politics, have a real ceasefire”.
The so-called Minsk ceasefire pact, agreed by the EU with Russia last month, stipulates a “pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment” and restoring “full control” to Ukraine of its border with Russia.
EU leaders at a summit last Thursday (19 March) decided to keep economic sanctions on Russia in place until the Minsk deal is implemented.
EUs svakhet kan bare gi Putin blod på tann. Federica Mogherini har vist seg akkurat så russiskvennlig som mange fryktet.
For her part, EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini, who took part in the same Brussels Forum panel as Nuland, spoke in more Russia-friendly tones.
“The situation is much, much better than it used to be, not perfect yet. So you don’t have a white or black picture, you have a situation that is much better than before the meeting in Minsk … even if with some violations”, she said.
She noted that joint EU-Russia-Ukraine talks on gas and trade are “steps in the right direction”.
She also repeated the EU line that “there [is] no military means to face the crisis in Ukraine”.
Det at det ikke finnes noen militær løsning på konflikten kan bety at man bør fraskrive seg muligheten for militære svar. Men siden det ikke finnes gjensidighet, vil det si det samme som at Putin vinner.
Det er ikke USA beredt til. Breedlove og Nuland sa leveranser av avanserte våpen er en option.
Det blir stadig tydeligere at avstanden mellom EU og USA har økt.
Breedlove and Nuland did not rule out supply of weapons to the Ukraine military, however
“I do not think that any tool of the US or any other power should necessarily be off the table”, Breedlove said.
“We see diplomatic tools being used, informational tools being used, military tools being used, economic tools being used against Ukraine and so we in the West should consider all of our tools and apply them”.
Nuland noted: “the question becomes, if you are facing a T-90 tank with a T-72 tank, ought you to have anti-tank weapons to at least level the playing field? If you are facing Smerch artillery which can go 20 kilometres with your own local artillery, should you have some capability against that? That’s the argument in favour. The argument opposed is that clearly this would constitute an escalation on the battlefield”.
Generalsekretær Jens Stoltenberg var også til stede. Han korrigerte en russisk parlamentariker som hevdet at det ikke var russisk styrker i Øst-Ukraina, men lå ellers lavt. Stoltenberg ligger nok nærmere EUs dialoglinje enn USA.