Will Biden Declare Ukraine Support An Official Military Operation? – Reports this week revealed how the White House is preparing to give a name to the United States’ continued support for Ukraine, declaring the ongoing financial aid and supply of weapons to the country an official military operation.
Combined with the recently announced $3 billion military aid package, which will help Ukraine replace its Soviet-era weaponry with new NATO-standard military equipment, the news suggests that the White House is not confident a diplomatic approach can bring an end to the war.
Should Biden go ahead with the plan, reported by the Wall Street Journal, it will put the Ukraine operation on par with the military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. It indicates that the United States views the operation as long-term.
“The naming of the training and assistance is significant bureaucratically, as it typically entails long-term, dedicated funding and the possibility of special pay, ribbons and awards for service members participating in the effort. The selection of a general, expected to be a two- or three-star, reflects the creation of a command responsible to coordinate the effort, a shift from the largely ad hoc effort to provide training and assistance to the Ukrainians for years,” The Wall Street Journal Reports.
Ukraine Naming Idea: Is This “Escalation”?
The decision could be risky for the White House and be considered an escalation in Ukraine by Russia.
While naming the operation won’t dramatically change the dynamics of what the United States government is doing, it does express a willingness to maintain this financial and military support for the foreseeable future.
That’s good news for Ukraine but could infuriate Russian President Vladimir Putin and push the Kremlin to prepare retaliatory measures in response. What those retaliatory measures could be, however, is unclear. Putin has repeatedly warned of “unpredictable consequences” if the United States continues to arm Ukraine. Those unpredictable consequences have not yet been realized, but there’s no telling what the Kremlin will do as its military campaign in south-eastern Ukraine flounders.
After six months of Kremlin officials alluding to the possibility of a nuclear conflict with the West, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko – an ally of Putin – told journalists in Minsk this week that his military’s aircraft have been modified to carry nuclear weapons.
“We, along with Putin, said once in St. Petersburg that we will adapt the Belarusian Su [-24] planes as well to make them capable to carry nuclear arms. Do you think we were just yakking? Everything is ready!” Lukashenko said this week.
If Biden goes ahead with his rumored plan to name an official military operation, and if Putin considers the move an escalation, retaliation from Russia could prove severe. Alternatively, it could prove Russia’s repeated warnings to be bluffs of enormous magnitude.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.