Ukraine has become one of the issues of Russian-American disagreements that have multiplied against the background of Russian interference in the US elections and electronic piracy, which has led to a new chapter of strict sanctions against Russia, and angered Moscow and prompted it to respond with similar sanctions.
During a speech to the Russian nation yesterday, President Vladimir Putin affirmed that "Russia will not allow anyone to cross the red lines that it sets by itself," a sign that observers considered a threat from Ukraine's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO).
Recent days have witnessed dangerous developments with Russia mobilizing more than 100 thousand of its soldiers near its borders with Ukraine, and Washington has expressed fears of a military escalation, indicating that Moscow may be considered an excuse to enter Ukraine, as happened in 2014 when it annexed the Crimean peninsula, at the same time it was divided Comments of commentators on the importance of Ukraine to top US interests.
President Joe Biden spoke a few days ago with his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky, and assured him of his country's unwavering support for Ukraine.
Vladimir Zelensky presses for his country to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (European)
Ukraine's desire for NATO membership
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is pressing for his country to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the hope that the joint defense agreement between the alliance countries, including the United States, will deter Russian aggression and impose an end to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has long opposed Ukrainian aspirations to join NATO, as well as other Western-oriented political and economic organizations, including the European Union.
Other experts see the Russian troop build-up near the border merely as a threat, as Russia wants to maintain sufficient support and influence in eastern Ukraine to prevent its neighbor from formalizing its relations with Europe and the United States.
There are also Russian fears that the Biden administration may provide a lot of military support to Ukraine, and Russia fears that Ukrainian President Zelensky will go too far and try to regain control of the areas controlled by Russian separatists in the east of the country.
The Russian novel claims that Ukrainian President Zelensky sparked the crisis a month ago by signing a decree making the restoration of Crimean lands annexed by Russia an official policy of the Ukrainian state. Zelensky also appealed to the United States and Europe to accelerate Ukraine's membership in NATO, which Russia has long described as a "red line" that would Lead to war.
Biden's dilemma between Moscow and Kiev
Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State and a former national security advisor, says that in Russia’s view, Ukraine "can never be just a foreign country. Ukraine has been a part of Russia for centuries, and its history has been intertwined before then."
Brian O'Toole, an expert at the Atlantic Council and a former Treasury Department official, believes that the Biden administration's main goals toward Russia are "to try to contain and repel Putin's broader attack on democracy, the Western model of governance and the rules of the established international order."
Washington pursues a policy of imposing sanctions on Russia as a punishment for its stances towards Ukraine, as happened when Moscow was annexed to the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Some critics say that the sanctions failed because they did not force the Kremlin to change its behavior, while another team believes that Russia would have taken more aggressive steps towards Ukraine had it not been for fear of tougher sanctions.
Ukraine is a strategic interest of America
Since the end of World War II, Washington has sought to support stability in Europe, where there are stable and secure countries, preferably free countries. From here, some commentators believe that the success of Ukraine will be a success for America as well.
Others believe that Ukraine "stands on the front lines of a strategic competition between the West and Russia, and then it must have strong support from Washington, which requires the continued flow of US military aid to Kiev."
According to a former American diplomat, his country "is fighting Russia in Ukraine so that it does not have to fight Russia in the United States."
Ambassador Kurt Volcker, the former US envoy to Ukraine, expressed the view in favor of supporting Ukraine, saying that “America's interest in Ukraine means repelling Russian aggression and supporting the development of a strong, resilient, democratic and prosperous Ukraine in order to overcome the legacy of corruption and become integrated into a wider transatlantic society. This is extremely important to US national security. "
"If Ukraine, the cradle of Slavic civilization that preceded Moscow, succeeds as a freedom-loving, prosperous and secure democracy, it gives tremendous hope that Russia may one day change in order to provide a better life for the Russian people, and overcome the current epidemic of tyranny, corruption and aggression towards neighbors and threats to NATO allies and the United States." .
Macron (right), during a meeting with Zelensky, called on Russia to withdraw its forces from Crimea (Reuters)
Ukraine is a burden on US interests
In contrast, George Pep, director of studies at the Center for National Interest and a former official for Russia at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), expressed a different view that does not see Ukraine as an interest for the United States.
Bibb believes that the assumption of the possibility of Ukraine's integration into the Western system and NATO overlooks many uncomfortable facts, and the fact that support for Ukraine's membership in NATO is minimal among Europeans, many of whom fear that such membership will lead to a military conflict with Russia.
Pep saw that there is a third alternative by thinking of a more modest approach that assures Moscow that Ukraine is not and will not be a candidate for NATO membership, while also preserving Kiev's freedom to seek its economic and political support from the West.
Pep believes that this proposal will not only facilitate a breakthrough in US-Russian relations, but also expand the space for freedoms within Ukraine, because it will reduce the geopolitical risks of internal reforms in Ukraine.
This approach would not be a reward for Russian aggression nor a bargain for the Ukrainian people, but it simply and practically reflects the uncomfortable realities the United States faces in Ukraine and Russia.
The roots of the crisis
The roots of the Ukrainian crisis go back to the so-called Ukrainian "Dignity Revolution" in 2014, when a pro-Russian president was ousted.
Russia later sent forces to annex Crimea, claiming that it must protect the rights of citizens of Russian origin living in southern Ukrainian lands.
Shortly after the annexation, Russia-backed separatists in the coal-rich Donbas region of eastern Ukraine seized a large part of the Donetsk and Luhansk administrative regions - where the majority of the population was Russian-speaking - and declared the creation of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic.
Fighting between the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists in Donbas has continued intermittently since 2014, despite multiple ceasefire agreements, and in recent days with the increase in the Russian military presence along the border with Ukraine, Kremlin officials have again warned that they will defend Russian population inside Ukraine.