Rocket, Guardians of Freedom
3 February 2017
On February 2nd, Nikki Haley, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, condemned Russia at an emergency UN meeting about a sudden upsurge in violence in eastern Ukraine. In her statements, Haley made clear that Russia is behind the conflict in eastern Ukraine and that Crimea is a part of Ukraine. She reassured that “Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns over the peninsula to Ukraine.” Her statements are indeed reassuring, to a limited degree.
Pointedly absent from her statement was a reaffirmed commitment to continue the sanctions on Russia that pertain to the conflict in eastern Ukraine; she only mentioned Crimea-related sanctions. Given the Trump Administration hints of warmer relations of Russia, sanctions imposed by the U.S. in response to the aggressive actions of Russia in eastern Ukraine may still be lifted in the near-future, even though the conflict has escalated in just recent days. At least Haley, and the Trump Administration, which chose not to censor her comments, recognize the existence of the conflict, its players, and is willing to condemn the actions of those players, namely Russia.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the U.N., seemed unfazed by the seeming consistency of the new administration with the rhetoric of the previous one, and commented with “there is a change in tone.” His remark is ominous in the extreme in what it implies. Russia senses a positive shift in U.S foreign policy in its direction. In essence, what does not trouble the Russians should be a danger signal for every one else. Moreover, the recent escalation of conflict in eastern Ukraine may be a test on Russia’s part of U.S. resolve. Russia wants to see how far they can go with the new administration, which is a dangerous sign for Ukraine. Already in Ukraine, ever since Trump was elected president, pundits have been questioning what the future of U.S.-Ukraine relations will look like. Hopefully, the new administration’s simmering condemnation will be backed up by continued support of Ukraine, increased economic and diplomatic pressure on Russia, and possibly even supply of arms to Ukraine to help it defend against Russian aggression.
Read more at: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/02/politics/haley-russia-un/