“I send the message from the American people – we are with you, your fight is our fight and we will win together,” Senator John McCain said today, as he visited Ukraine’s front lines in its ongoing conflict with Russia.
“In 2017 we will defeat the invaders and send them back where they came from. To Vladimir Putin – you will never defeat the Ukrainian people and deprive them of their independence and freedom,” he said.
But when Russia influenced the elections in Crimea in March, and annexed it, where was the United States? In light of the revelations this week with regards to Russian cyber efforts to leverage malicious cyber activity (“GRIZZLY STEPPE”) in an effort to advance Russian strategic interests with regards to this years US elections, the United States could have and should have taken the same hard look at the Russian / GRIZZLE STEPPE involvement in the 2014 vote regarding Crimea.
And when, after the fall of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, Russian special forces began to open seize key terrain and installations – where was the US then? Russian forces were openly patrolling in Russian military uniforms, sanitized of patches and insignia, and the US response was to send to the Ukrainian military US equipment like HMMWV’s and drones that was new to their inventory, which would require new maintenance plans and new inventories of repairs parts – from US manufacturers.
And where has the US been, every month since then, as the tensions have increased and the actual conflict between Ukraine and Russia has grown, to the point of involving tanks and artillery? This has grown far beyond just being about Spetsnaz; estimates have risen to as high as 36,000 Russian forces operating in Ukraine, with clear, irrefutable evidence of Russian involvement in Ukraine.
But don’t worry. We’ll be with you in 2017. Totes.