Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Adviser Harlan Ullman writes for the Huffington Post on what arming Ukraine means for both NATO and Russia:
It appears that the U.S., possibly with NATO allies, may soon embark on providing arms to Ukraine to help Kiev counter Russian and Separatist aggression in the east. The reasons for assisting President Petro Poroshenko’s government are self-evident. Following the Maidan Square protests last year that evicted the corrupt President Viktor Yanukovych from office, Vladimir Putin was determined to maintain Russian influence and control over its former ally. Shortly thereafter, Russia annexed Crimeaand physically intervened in the east with so-called “green men” wearing insignia-less military uniforms arming supporting the anti-Kiev Separatists.
Civil war and conflict has continued since. While Poroshenko has begun vitally needed reforms of an otherwise corrupt government, Ukraine’s dire economic and financial condition requires billions of Euros in aid and loans simply to survive. Meanwhile, Putin is threatening the city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov and is clearly considering turning eastern Ukraine into a vassal state.