Reuters reports: European defence officials warned on Friday that arming Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russian separatists would only inflame the conflict, but were told by NATO’s top soldier, an American general, that the West should consider using “all tools” if diplomacy with Moscow wasn’t working.
The debate at the Munich Security Conference highlighted an emerging rift between Europe and Washington over how to confront Russian President Vladmir Putin as Moscow-backed rebels make territorial gains in eastern Ukraine.
President Barack Obama is under pressure from some in Congress to provide Kiev with lethal weapons.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen voiced Europe’s misgivings about this strategy: “Are we sure we would be improving the situation for the people in Ukraine by delivering weapons? Are we really sure that Ukraine can win against the Russian military machine?”
“And would this not be an excuse for Russia to intervene openly in the conflict?” asked the German minister.
Britain also fears that sending weapons could “escalate the conflict”, her British counterpart Michael Fallon told the conference. [Continue reading…]