America’s top envoy in Ukraine, Chargé d’Affaires George Kent, led an American delegation that toured the front line of Ukraine’s war against the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass region on July 15.
As the Ukrainian government phrased it, he paid an official visit to the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) zone, that being the designation of the now over-seven-year-war in the east of the country. From 2014, after the U.S.-engineered coup in the nation that provoked the ongoing war, until 2018 what is now the JFO was named the the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO). The American-controlled junta in Kiev branded citizens of the nation who objected to the bloody overthrow of the government of legally-elected, internationally-recognized President Viktor Yanukovych as terrorists and treated them accordingly. As its successor still does.
The architect of the coup and all that has ineluctably followed it, Victoria Nuland, has moved on to a top post in the State Department in the administration of Joe Biden, who himself played no minor role in the disaster, from which perch she’s currently directing a repeat of the Ukrainian model for Belarus.
The U.S. embassy’s Kent, while for the world acting as a belligerent, or a strong supporter of a belligerent in a hot war – he and his fellow Americans were guests of the JFO – assured the military of his host country that Washington will continue to support Ukraine in its bid to “protect its territorial integrity and independence.” Which is to say, to continue to back the armed forces of the nation in a war to reclaim territory on the Russian border.
The U.S. envoy and his staff met with the commander of the Joint Forces, Lieutenant General Volodymyr Kravchenko, and “discussed the current security situation in the area of the JFO, the issue of compatibility between units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the armies of NATO countries and the implementation of NATO standards in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
If this is how the U.S.’s top (nominal) diplomat in the nation operates, what is the role of the American military attaché, of American military advisors in Ukraine? Their role would appear to be superfluous.
Kent confirmed that Washington is “constantly monitoring” the situation in the Donbass war zone and would continue to provide material and technical assistance for the military campaign there. The U.S. officials were given a briefing on the effectiveness of equipment and other aid provided by the U.S. from 2014-2021.
In the words of the aforementioned Ukrainian commander, he who is in charge of the first war in Europe since NATO’s air war against Yugoslavia in 1999 and its inevitable correlate, the war in Macedonia (paragraph 13 onward) two years later launched from NATO-occupied Kosovo:
“Units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine use communication stations, counter-battery radars, ambulances and many other means provided by the U.S. government. This all greatly helps our military in repelling Russian aggression. I express my sincere words of gratitude to the American people for their reliable support and such important help for us.”
The U.S. supplied $125 million in military assistance to Ukraine at the beginning of the year. In June the Defense Department announced an additional package of $150 million as part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. There has been discussion of the Pentagon providing Ukraine with both Patriot and Javelin missiles.
The war in eastern Ukraine is an American and NATO proxy war with Russia. Crimea is the next front in that conflict.