US Vice President Joe Biden's plane has touched down in the Ukrainian capitol to meet with US-backed president, Petro Poroshenko, and prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. If the past is prologue, we should expect a full-fledged assault by Kiev on the breakaway eastern part of the country to begin at anytime.
Biden's last trip to Ukraine was in April, where he told unelected post-coup prime minister Yatsenyuk that "You will not walk this road alone. We will walk it with you." Within days of Biden's assurance of support, Kiev's offensive on eastern Ukraine markedly intensified. Soon thereafter, artillery shells fell on densely-populated civilian centers killing hundreds at a dramatically increased rate.
The two Ukrainian leaders took power after a US and EU-backed coup overthrew the elected government in February. They are expected to again ask the US administration for the overt provision of deadly force to be used against those seeking independence in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions. The US has thus far declined to overtly provide lethal weapons, though several visits by top CIA officials and US Special Forces suggest that covert assistance and training may already have been provided.
Today, the US government announced that it would increase "non-lethal" aid to the Ukrainian government -- aid that includes radars to accurately pinpoint targets in the breakaway east. Senator John McCain, who will soon take over as Chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, is furious that the US is not directly arming Kiev and pressing the conflict right up to Russia's border.
His response to today's announcement of increased "non-lethal" aid:
They (Kiev) are fighting against people with lethal weapons. They need lethal weapons to fight back. It is disgraceful and shameful that we won’t give them lethal weapons.
According to the most recent UN human rights report, "from mid-April to 18 November, at least 4,317 people were killed and 9,921 wounded in the conflict-affected area of eastern Ukraine."
Last month, Human Rights Watch reported that the US-backed government in Kiev used internationally-condemned cluster bombs against civilians in eastern Ukraine.
President Poroshenko has already outlined his strategy to defeat the eastern secessionists. In a bizarre speech last week, the US-backed Poroshenko said:
We (Ukraine) will have our jobs – they (Donbas) will not. We will have our pensions – they will not. We will have care for children, for people and retirees – they will not. Our children will go to schools and kindergartens... theirs will hole up in the basements. Because they are not able to do a thing. This is exactly how we will win this war!
It is a cruel claim, but true. Children in eastern Ukraine are confined to basements as shells from Kiev fall overhead. The US has been silent about its proxies' role in the slaughter of civilians in east Ukraine.
The stage has already been set for Kiev's resumption of hostilities against its citizens of the east, as yet another (unproven) allegation of a Russian invasion of Ukraine was reported by Western officials and mainstream media outlets. NATO's Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, Gen. Philip Breedlove said last week that he was “concerned about convoys of trucks taking artillery and supplies into east Ukraine from Russia.” NATO has provided no evidence for its latest claim of a Russian invasion.
Expect the US vice president's visit to be the green light Kiev was waiting for to resume hostilities in the east.