Omelicheva: Without U.S. military aid, Russia-backed rebels would have controlled more Ukrainian territory

PONARS Eurasia
22 Nov 2019

(The Atlantic) When Adam Schiff asked Bill Taylor, the first witness in the House’s public impeachment hearings, to explain to Americans why U.S. security assistance to Ukraine matters for their own security, America’s top diplomat in Kyiv went big. Really big.

“It affects the world that we live in, that our children will grow up in and our grandchildren,” Taylor declared. “Ukraine is on the front line” of a struggle to prevent Russia from trampling on the post–World War II order, which “actually kept the peace in Europe for nearly 70 years.” [...]

Without U.S. military aid, the 300-mile-long front line in the eastern Donbass region “would have been moved further west into Ukraine, and Russia-backed rebels would have controlled more Ukrainian territory,” said Omelicheva, who last spring visited a U.S.-Ukrainian military-training center. “The casualties would have multiplied.”

The aid has also reduced fatalities on the Ukrainian side through the delivery of ambulances and other medical resources, along with radar systems capable of spotting and tracking incoming artillery and mortar rounds, Omelicheva told me.

“It is also plausible that [in the absence of U.S. security assistance] a desperate Ukraine would have been forced into a peace deal favoring Russia’s interests”—by, for example, feeling compelled to grant the Donbass region independence, Omelicheva said.

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