U.S. Should Sidestep Ukraine-Russia Conflict

By Daniel R. DePetris
Apr. 8, 2021

The war in eastern Ukraine, a conflict that tamped down considerably since last summer’s ceasefire, is again making headlines worldwide. Last week, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed after Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk directed artillery, machine-gun and sniper-fire toward Ukrainian military positions. Two more were killed this week. The build-up of Russian troops and equipment in Crimea and along Russia’s long border with Ukraine is causing concern in Washington. Biden administration officials have phoned their Ukrainian colleagues and pledged U.S. support for Kyiv’s territorial integrity. The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is essentially dead, with international monitors recording over 400 violations on a single day alone.

With violence in eastern Ukraine bubbling to the surface, the clamor in Washington for a more aggressive U.S. response is growing louder. The Biden administration, which agreed to send an additional $125 million in military support to the Ukrainian military in March, will continue to feel the pressure as long as hostilities between Kyiv and separatists remain on the upswing.

President Joe Biden should resist the temptation to get the United States more involved in what has proven to be an intractable conflict in Ukraine. Restraint and foresight, not reactive posturing, is the best approach.

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