Ukraine Needs More than NATO Sanctions on Russia
Ethan Corban ’16
In 2013, the country of Ukraine was wracked with political turmoil. A proposal to strengthen trade ties with the EU was shot down by the Ukrainian cabinet in favor of closer relations with Russia, its large and powerful neighbor. Independent from Russia since 1991, many Ukrainian citizens began to riot, protesting the relations with the former Soviet Union. The nation saw its capital of Kiev overrun with protests and its own president, Mr. Yanukovych, abandon his station. Some of the deadliest days in that region have occurred since the beginning of the conflict. In under two days, over eighty people were killed.
The international conflict surrounding the country of Ukraine since late 2013 has continued to escalate in recent months. Pro-Russian rebels, predominantly located in the Crimean region, have emerged in significant force. They see that Ukraine has temporarily lost much of its grasp over its territory and have begun to seize numerous villages, military bases, and other key locations in an effort to force the country of Ukraine to allow Russia’s absorption of Crimea.
Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, has only worsened the Ukrainian crisis. Rather than attempting to quiet these rebels, in March 2013 he signed a bill that declared Crimea a part of Russia. Claiming that he seeks to protect Russian interests, Putin has mobilized large amounts of troops and mechanized units near and, in recent weeks, inside the border of Ukraine and Russia. Western satellite data and intelligence units have presented clear evidence of Russian military buildup near the border. After urgent requests by the United States and other nations, Putin eventually pulled back his forces. However, Ukraine frequently declares that Russian units are operating inside the country, presenting captured paratroopers as evidence. Despite these repeated and almost certainly valid accusations, Russia maintains firm denial of any involvement inside the border.
As of now, the most significant international action taken against Russia for its intrusion into Ukraine has been the implementation of several trade sanctions by Western nations, including the United States. I believe that this action does not hold enough impact to force Russia to cease its hostile behavior. In the interest of defending NATO allies in that region that are potentially vulnerable to Russia’s formidable military, the United States should station a minor amount of forces in area. Especially considering Ukraine’s membership in of NATO. Aiding an allied country when it is being brutalized ensures that the United States is trusted internationally and that the aggressor is quickly put down.