On Tuesday, British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond warned that Russia’s actions in Ukraine were undermining the security of Eastern European countries. Meanwhile, the U.S. and UK are sending troops and advisers to Ukraine to train and advise Ukrainian government forces. United States has already sent 120 heavy military equipment to the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to remind Russia of the U.S. presence close to its borders.
A direct U.S. confrontation with Russia?
The ongoing Ukraine conflict risks a direct U.S. confrontation with Russia, which may trigger a nuclear war. The anti-American sentiment in Russia has reached a record 81%, according to Levada Center. According to Philip Thickness of Reuters, Moscow has always seen itself as threatened and encircled. Russia’s worries have mounted due to aggressive expansion of NATO in eastern Europe.
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Countries that were once part of the former Soviet Union acted as buffers between Russia and the encircling threat from NATO. But the U.S. has actively persuaded many of these eastern European countries to join NATO, which rattled Russian President Vladimir Putin. In January, former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the Ukraine crisis could trigger a nuclear war between the West and Russia.
Current U.S.-Russia relations are ‘poisonous’
In an open letter to President Barack Obama late last year, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark said, “Nothing is more dangerous than the aggressive U.S./NATO troop movements right on the borders of Russia.” He said the U.S. support for Kiev fascists was a “provocation against the entire region.” Last month, former Reagan administration ambassador to Soviet Union, Jack Matlock, said the West’s biggest priority should be to reestablish civil relations with Moscow.
Matlock said it was not in America’s best interest to intervene in the Ukraine conflict and risk another nuclear arms race. If there is any existential threat to the country, that’s it, said Matlock. He said President Obama should “stop publicly dueling” with Vladimir Putin. Matlock described the current U.S.-Russia relations as “poisonous.”