Washington, D.C. (GPA) – After finalizing a deal to export US coal to Ukraine, it now seems the pentagon is also considering adding weapons to that order.
Following a new round of sanctions on Russia passed by the US Congress, Trump is considering moves that will escalate tensions with Russia. If the sanctions weren’t causing enough problems, the Trump regime has also decided to increase their interference in Ukraine.
The Politics of Energy
This started earlier today with the announcement that the US company Xcoal Energy & Resources, signed the first contract to sell coal to Ukraine. The coal will be used to produce electricity, cutting Ukraine’s dependence on natural gas – their main energy source – which is supplied primarily by Russia.
This new energy deal will likely exacerbate existing problems in the region, and may entirely cause new conflicts. This is mostly due to the politics of natural gas in Eastern Europe.
First off, much of Ukraine’s natural gas comes via pipelines running through the eastern region of the country. This is of course what most people refer to as the Donbass. Cutting off the fuel lines that run through the region will most likely limit the region’s finances due to their relationship with Russian companies who use the pipelines.
This will also affect Russia who was the primary supplier of gas to Ukraine. Not only will Russia lose a crucial source of revenue for Moscow (and Donbass) but this new contract lightens the pressure on Ukraine to negotiate in good faith in the future.
Throwing Weapons on a Fire
Making matters worse, another potential proposal by Trump was reported today by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). According to WSJ, both the departments of State and Defense are now lobbying the White House to supply Kiev with “defensive weapons.”
The plan is allegedly the brainchild of the Trump Regime’s newly appointed special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker. Volker is a notorious Russophobe, who has in the past called the Ukrainian conflict a “hot war” and consistently lobbies for Washington to arm Kiev to “stop Russia” – whatever that means.
Now, obviously, Ukraine is not either a NATO or European Union member, making delivery of arms more complicated than in countries such as the Baltic states (where Vice President Pence just visited to threaten Moscow). That said, Ukraine is the one non-affiliated puzzle piece left for US forces and weaponry to arrive in, in order to completely box in Russia’s western borders.
Some of the proposed weapons also clearly have problematic implications in the reasons they were placed on the proposed list. This includes things like anti-tank weapons, right before Russia is set to begin massive drill with thousands of personnel and, hundreds of vehicles…including tanks.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to the US proposal, voicing his Moscow’s concern that these new weapons would probably do more harm than good. Peskov told reporters earlier today that the Kremlin’s “position on the issue is well known – we believe that all countries, especially the countries which somehow seek a role in reconciliation, should avoid any actions which could trigger another round of tensions in this already difficult region.”
Trump will have to review these proposals and sign off on anything before it can take effect. While it’s unlikely these weapons would be intended to start an open conflict with Russia, it’s probably not wise to make Kiev (which continues to violate ceasefires as recently as today) into a trusted middle man.
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.