NATO Arms Sales to Ukraine: The Spark That Starts a War with Russia?

Ted Galen Carpenter, senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute

The United States and its NATO allies are busily arming Ukraine and engaging in other actions that encourage the leaders in Kiev to believe that they have strong Western backing in their confrontation with Russia and Russian-backed separatists. The conflict between the Ukrainian government and separatist forces in the Donbass region, which has remained at a low simmer in recent years, thanks to the fragile Minsk agreements, shows unmistakable signs of heating up. That development is exacerbating already dangerous tensions between Kiev and Moscow. There is growing speculation that Russia might even launch an invasion of Ukraine.

Western leaders are pursuing a reckless strategy that is generating increasingly pointed warnings from Kremlin officials. On two occasions since early April, Russia also has made ominous military deployments near its border with Ukraine. Shortly before the earlier episode, the Biden administration had announced a new $125 million arms sale to Ukraine. Although the transaction was put on hold temporarily in June, $60 million of that package was delivered during U.S. secretary of defense Lloyd Austin’s visit to Kiev in late October. Läs artikel