President Obama plans to call Russian President Vladimir Putin, and White House officials say it will include a pledge that the US will not provide “lethal aid” for Ukraine in its ongoing crackdown against secessionists in the east.
The White House statement gave the impression this is a done deal, but other officials, including top State Department aide Thomas Shannon, say that the prospect of sending arms to Ukraine is “obviously” still being considered.
Protesters seeking increased autonomy, and potentially outright secession, have taken over multiple eastern provinces in the Ukraine, and as the pro-US interim government moves to send the military against those provinces, they have been courting Western nations, including the US, for increased military aid.
Not only is the region on Russia’s border, but many of the secessionists are ethnic Russians, and this has Russian officials warning they won’t accept a bloody crackdown on their frontier. US involvement would risk seeing Russia arming the protesters, and potentially intervene directly.