Late Tuesday AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via text messages to their mobile devices that the Pentagon was deploying military advisers to Ukraine. According to Pentagon spokesman U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren, the objective of the advisers will be to “shape and establish an enduring program for future US efforts to support the Ukrainian military through subject-matter expert teams and long-term advisers.”
For clarity, readers are reminded that when the Pentagon uses the phrase "military advisers," this invariably means special operations forces and in this particular case, it will likely be predominantly U.S. Army Special Forces. In addition to being highly skilled in direct action missions, Green Berets excel at working with the local population, training indigenous troops, assessing capabilities and needs and serving as the eyes and ears of the National Command Authority and other U.S. policy makers.
Further, as previously noted just weeks ago, the Pentagon will not telegraph the deployment of special operations forces. If they are talking about sending them, many are already there and likely have been for some time.
Russia's Actions a Dangerous Escalation
On Thursday of this week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey responded to news that the Russian military was now firing artillery from Russian territory into eastern Ukraine as well as continuing to supply increasingly deadly weapons systems and support to separatists, saying that the latest development represents a dangerous escalation and that the Russia-Ukraine crisis is now a global problem.
“They clearly are on a path to assert themselves differently not just in Eastern Europe, but Europe in the main, and towards the United States.”
Congress Working to Provide Major Non-NATO Ally Status
Several nations on Russia's periphery have become eager to align with the EU and U.S. as a way to protect themselves against potential Russian threats. As such, multiple bills are working their way through Congress which would codify a legal avenue through which the U.S. would grant Ukraine and several other former Soviet states with major non-NATO ally status (see this and this). The bills would authorize President Obama to increase U.S. military interactions and security assistance with the armed forces of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU ?
In a nutshell, these developments mean dramatically increased tensions and prospects of war with the Russian Federation and should be taken seriously.
On multiple occasions over the past two years, and in particular, the past several months, Russia has repeatedly warned NATO and the U.S. against growth on their border as such moves pose a direct strategic threat, warned individual states against a closer alliance and warned that nuclear weapons could be used if Ukraine attempts to retake Crimea. Russia’s top military officer, the Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Nikolai Makarov, has previously warned that Moscow would preemptively strike NATO missile-defense sites and bases in Eastern Europe if the U.S. pushes ahead with deployment. Additionally, Gen. Makarov has also warned of the use of nuclear weapons if the Russian Federation is threatened.
“We are certainly not planning to fight against the whole of NATO, but if there is a threat to the integrity of the Russian Federation, we have the right to use nuclear weapons, and we will.”
Without question, there are dramatically differing national interests in play and the resulting increases in tensions, force buildups and posture makes for a volatile situation. Along with the growing tensions with China in the Western Pacific, the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and the increasing terrorism threat emanating from that region, not to mention the myriad of other threats facing the country, our strongest recommendations for readers to minimize frivolity, get caught up with your basic preparedness tasks and, above all, stay well informed.
As always AlertsUSA continues to closely monitor events in this region and will immediately notify service subscribers of changes in the overall threat picture as events warrant.