NATO Divided as US, Britain Oppose Ukraine Peace Efforts

Crisis Talks Eye Immediate, Unconditional Ceasefire

The Munich security conference is showing NATO increasingly divided, in pretty stark terms, on the ongoing Ukraine Civil War, with British and US officials being more and more public in their objections to French and German efforts to broker a peace.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond insisted his nation won’t accept any ceasefire deal that recognizes the gains of the eastern rebels in recent days, a puzzling stance since Britain is not directly involved in this war.

US officials are doing the same, with hawkish Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) spending the weekend at Munich railing against the peace efforts as “turning their back” on the Ukrainian military, which the administration is considering arming to escalate the war.

US General Philip Breedlove openly talked about direct NATO involvement in Ukraine, saying the alliance shouldn’t preclude military escalation of the conflict.

With the rebels overwhelmingly ethnic Russians, the US seems keen on turning Ukraine’s Civil War into a US-Russia proxy conflict, insisting they can throw enough arms at Ukraine’s military to defeat the separatist rebels.

France and Germany, however, see the war as undesirable, and are pushing Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to reach a ceasefire with the rebels before the situation gets even more out of hand.

After the last ceasefire held for about three months, Ukraine launched a full-scale offensive on the rebels last month. The offensive went poorly, and now the rebels are taking more territory.

For the Poroshenko government, the question seems to be whether they will be in an even worse bargaining position now, having refused the September reforms that likely would’ve ended the conflict, and are stuck with the choice of either starting another ceasefire in a worse position than they had in September, or gambling that US arms can change the battle more in their favor before they stop.

 

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.