Since the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, top Ukrainian politicians have talked up the threat of an imminent, full-scale war in Russia. Years later, this continues to get raised every time a tense moment with Russia erupts.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is now citing Sunday’s maritime incident in the Sea of Azov, and says “Ukraine is under threat of full-scale war with Russia,” claiming Russia had massively increased the number of troops and tanks on their border.
He claims to have intelligence reports on the military buildup, but offered no details. It would be strange for Russia to precipitously escalate their presence at the border, given Ukraine is much weaker militarily, and the eastern border includes an ethnic Russian separatist region of Ukraine.
Since 2014, Russia and Ukraine have had a tense relationship, but little sign of direct military conflict, above and beyond conflicting interests in the separatist region. Ukraine simply doesn’t have a military built for such a conflict.
Trump May Cancel Putin Meeting at G20 Over Ukraine Incident
Addressing the Sunday maritime incident between Russia and Ukraine, President Trump has said he may cancel his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of this weekend’s G20 summit.
“Maybe I won’t even have the meeting … I don’t like that aggression,” Trump said. He did, however, say that he is waiting for a full report on the matter to decide on the meting. The Trump-Putin meeting was intended to address security issues and arms control.
On Sunday, Russia seized three Ukrainian naval boats in the Sea of Azov. Russia says the boats entered closed Russian waters, while Ukraine insists they did nothing wrong. The US State Department is backing Ukraine, and urging European nations to “do more” to help Ukraine militarily.
With the US backing Ukraine over the dispute, the cancellation of the G20 talks might make sense. On the other hand, Trump and Putin meet so rarely as it is because of constant diplomatic tensions, that even minor sideline meetings such as this are a serious loss to diplomatic efforts.