ukraine: US pushes against Russia red lines with unprecedented supply of arms to Ukraine amid WW-III warning – Times of India


WASHINGTON: Amid warnings from its own lawmakers that it risks provoking a World War-III if it pushes too far against red lines drawn by Moscow, the United States is nudging Poland and Ukraine to stand up to Russia while opening an unprecedented arms pipeline in strategy reminiscent of 1980s when it successfully mired the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
What followed then was ruinous for Afghanistan, Soviet Union and the US itself in the long run, but salutary lessons seem farthest from anyone’s mind as Washington — under pressure from western public opinion — has rushed, facilitated and authorised hundreds of millions of dollars of arms for Ukraine over the weekend to stave off a Russian invasion.
That Russian invasion already appears bogged down as the US and its NATO allies have rushed a staggering 17,000 anti-tank weapons — mainly US-made Javelin missiles — and other lethal artillery to Ukraine in just under a week. On top of that, officials said on Sunday that the US has given a “green light” to Nato countries who want to provide fighter jets to Ukraine.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS that Washington is in talks with Poland to give Ukraine its jet fighters (mainly Russian MIG-29s) and Warsaw would, in turn, be compensated with the US planes.
“We’re talking with our Polish friends right now about what we might be able to do to backfill their needs if, in fact, they choose to provide these fighter jets to the Ukrainians. What could we do? How can we help to make sure that they get something to backfill the planes that they’re handing over to the Ukrainians,” Blinken asked.
Supplying Ukraine with arms through third parties appeared to flirt so dangerously with Russian red lines that Poland publicly rejected the idea, saying it won’t send its fighter jets to Ukraine or allow Ukrainian pilots to use Polish airports.
Alarm that the US could be provoking direct confrontation with Russia and possibly triggering a World War-III was voiced in Washington by American lawmakers who rejected Ukraine President Voldymyr Zelenskyy‘s plea for the US and Nato to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
“I think people need to understand what a no-fly zone means. It’s not some rule you pass that everybody has to oblige by. It (means) willingness to shoot down aircrafts of the Russian Federation, which is basically the beginning of World War-III,” Republican senator Marco Rubio warned on Sunday.
“Frankly, you can’t put those planes up there unless you’re willing to knock out the anti-aircraft systems that the Russians have deployed – and not just in Ukraine, but in Russia and also in Belarus,” he added on a Sunday talk show.
The Biden administration too rejected the idea of a no-fly zone, but short of that and putting boots on the ground in Ukraine, it appears ready to do everything possible to buttress Kyiv, including lining up a succession for the embattled Zelensky should Russians kill him.
The US officials said over the weekend that more than 70 per cent of the $ 350m in military aid authorised for Ukraine last week had already been supplied at what was described as “at warp speed” and indicated even more is in the pipeline.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is also considering a ban on import of Russian oil and gas to further stifle Moscow, even at the risk of pain for Americans.
Gas prices crossed a national average of $ 4 a gallon on Sunday and is poised to surpass the all-time record of $4.11, set on July 17, 2008. Washington is already getting ready to kiss and make up with Venezuela to ensure supplies and even dealing with Iran is being spoken about if Russia is shut out.

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