The Duma might consider the possibility of placing Russian military equipment in the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Franz Klintsevich, deputy head of the Duma’s Defense Committee, spoke about this move on Sunday in response to a statement by U.S. President Barack Obama about the fact that Washington might transfer all of the military equipment it currently has in Afghanistan over to Ukraine.
In an interview with Actual Commentaries, Bogdan Bezpalko, deputy director of Moscow State University’s Center for Ukrainian and Belarusian Studies and a member of the President’s Council on Interethnic Relations, discussed what would happen if American military equipment were stationed in the Ukraine.
“This sort of statement could indicate a variety of things. Without a doubt, this is a method of placing diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation. If the U.S. is stating that some of its weapons will be transferred from Afghanistan to Ukraine, then of course that suggests a certain military pressure directed toward Russia in, for example, the Crimean vicinity. And this sort of statement from the president of the United States of America can be counted as a threat against Russia.
“After the reversal of the Ukraine’s nonaligned status, and after her repeated requests for lethal weapons shipments, it can be stated with confidence that preparations are underway in Kiev for a military campaign, which, depending on weather conditions, could perhaps be restarted between March and April. The Ukrainians are not hiding the fact that they are ready for war. We can see that Ukraine is actively galvanizing its allies, increasing its stocks of armored equipment, etc. And of course, as soon as it actually receives this shipment of weapons from the USA, the Ukrainian leadership will immediately name an exact date for the start of military action.
“For now, this issue is not yet settled, but without a doubt, Russia will react to the delivery of American weapons to the Ukrainians. I can’t say for sure whether Deputy Klintsevich’s countering initiative will be implemented, that is, the supply of Russian military equipment to militias or some other sort of military aid to Donbass. However, a reaction from Moscow is certainly forthcoming.
“The issue is that according to many experts, this kind of reaction is exactly what everyone expects from us. They want to pull Russia into this conflict. Of course, practically speaking, we are already involved in it, but they want to pull us into the ‘hot’ phase of the conflict. That is, they want to provoke Russia, so that if not with the help of her armed forces, then at least with the aid of the open delivery of military supplies, the country will deem itself in a definitive position of armed conflict and will thus make itself vulnerable to informational, psychological and public relations warfare.
“It is hard to say whether the Russian Federation will openly supply arms to Donbass, but I can say with certainty that Russia will react with considerable strength — since both Donbass and Crimea are essentially our borders; we’ve got nowhere to retreat to.”