Ukraine has been pleading in vain for the US to lend them arms and ammunition. The Obama administration’s response to this point, though, has been to utter a few statements and sanction 11 people.
Part of the case Ukraine has made to the US involves how Viktor Yanukovych — the pro-Russian president ousted during the Maidan protests — embarked on a scheme to soften up Ukraine.
Even before Viktor Yanukovych’s tenure as president, Ukraine’s military was woefully underfunded and outdated. The nation’s defense force is composed of obsolete tanks and fighter planes, and thousands of low-paid soldiers.
But the lawmaker who spoke with Fox News claimed Yanukovych had made it a point, over the course of his administration, to “hollow out” the Ukrainian military further.
The goal, the source said, was to weaken the Ukrainian national defenses in the event Russia eventually moved to reclaim the country.
Interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told the visiting U.S. lawmakers that Yanukovych’s policy had effectively left Ukraine with about 6,000 capable soldiers.
If true, this just adds to the reasons that Putin has to act now against Ukraine, not later. The war-weary US, the divided and weak EU, Russia’s hold on Europe’s energy via Gazprom, and now a weakened Ukraine — nothing really stood in Putin’s way.
Russia currently has between 21,000 and 30,000 soldiers deployed in Crimea alone. So far, the US is considering giving Ukraine some MREs. Ukraine may we be overrun by Russian and Belurus troops before those meals even arrive.