US Congress crocks Russian expansionism

Author : Serhiy Stelmakh

Source : 112 Ukraine

The lower chamber of the US Congress banned military cooperation with Russia untill the Kremlin release the occupied Ukrainian territory and threaten NATO member countries
16:12, 7 December 2016

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Since spring 2014, Moscow sought for large-scale conflict with the US, trying to blackmail the West with nuclear weapons. Kremlin bluff by mimicking readiness to unleash a global war if Washington and Brussels refuse to close our eyes to annexation of Crimea and would not allow Vladimir Putin to destroy Ukraine as a state.

Related: Ukraine might confiscate foreign cargo ship for entering Crimean port

Moscow was trapped in its own ill-considered decisions. The US government and the military machine slowly but surely turns aggressive against the Kremlin leadership. Now the initiative is in the hands of Washington. US officials regularly make it clear to Vladimir Putin and his foreign policy team that they are not going to "exchange" Ukraine on the Russian conditions. Judging by the actions of the main state institutions, said the strategic line is long-term.

Related: Closed trial of "Crimean saboteurs" in Russia

US House of Representatives adopted a draft law on the financing of the Ministry of Defense for the next year. The corresponding document is available on the Congress website. He forbids the Pentagon to deal with our Russian colleagues, as long until you have provided objective evidence of de-occupation of Ukrainian territory (Donbas and Crimea) and stopping the aggressive actions of the Kremlin, threatening NATO countries.

Related: Germany does not recognize Crimea as Russia, - Steinmeier

“(Sec. 1233) Prohibits FY2017 funds from being used for bilateral military-to-military cooperation between the governments of the United States and Russia until DOD certifies to Congress that Russia has: (1) ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and (2) is abiding by the terms of and taking steps in support of the Minsk Protocols regarding a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. Permits a waiver under specified conditions,” the document says.

It also “prohibits funds from being used to implement any activity that recognizes the sovereignty of Russia over Crimea.”

US authorities have allowed some reservations. Cooperation in some areas is possible, but only after Moscow’s "steps in support of the Minsk Protocols regarding a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine." But this is unlikely to comfort the Russian leadership, for which the full implementation of agreements on Donbas will mean the collapse of the terrorist "republics" and the impossibility to influence Ukrainian politics. And in no way guarantees the indulgence in "Crimean issue".

Related: Russia sends anti-missile systems to Crimea

Related: Russia threatens with missile strike if Ukraine conducts military drills near Crimea

To finally become a law, this document has to pass through the Senate and proceed to the signature of the president. But the trend is already evident. It is also worth recalling that the vote on the law on the financing of the military budget is the logical continuation of the act "On the support stability and democracy in Ukraine", passed by Congress this fall. The document also contains a provision that prohibits the US president to recognize the Russian Crimea.

Related: Ukrainian mass media broadcasting in occupied Crimea will be stopped

First, Moscow should not rely on "equal relationship" with the administration of Donald Trump, in the words of President Vladimir Putin during his recent address to the Federal Assembly. Under such a formulation the Kremlin bosses understand the recognition that Crimea is Russia, and a kind of pre-emptive right to interfere in the internal affairs of Ukraine, but it is only Putin’s "wishlist". The Republican Party holds a majority in both houses of Congress. The representatives of this political force, as the events of the past two years, are set firmly against the policy of Moscow, seized Ukrainian Crimea and organize a "hybrid war" in the east of our country. Republicans lobbied initiative to provide Ukraine not only defensive but also offensive weapons. Prominent representatives of the Republican Party has repeatedly criticized Obama administration for being too "soft" towards Moscow. For example, the newly elected Vice-President Michael Pence declared that "reset" of relations with Russia initiated by the Obama team led to the annexation of Ukrainian Crimea.

Related: Umerov stated continuation of disloyal Crimean Tatars intimidation

Second, the adoption of such a document fits into the logic of the formation of the military-political team of the future administration. Donald Trump chose to head the Pentagon, General James Mattis. It is characterized by a critical approach to Russian politics, the desire to act in a position of strength. General has repeatedly advocated the extension of support for Ukraine, accusing Russia in annexation of Crimea and occupation of part of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The head of the CIA in the new administration will be Michael Pompeo critics the Kremlin. Conditional "Russophile" is likely presidential adviser on national security, Michael Flynn, a retired general, who earlier headed the military intelligence. If the document is finally accepted, it will be an additional argument to the fact that there would be no "big deal" concerning Ukraine between Trump and Putin. The American political system, which contains the mechanisms of checks and balances does not allow to do it.

Related: Russia will not seek confrontation near Ukraine-Crimea border, - Kasyanov

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