U.S. involvement in Ukraine is counterproductive because it pushes all the wrong buttons for Russia, especially now that relations between Putin and President Obama are at an all-time low.
“From Moscow’s point of view, any form of direct U.S. involvement in Ukrainian security operations could grow over time into stronger assistance, possibly including U.S. troops on the ground.” ((Possible U.S. Involvement in Ukraine Could Heighten Tensions. Geopolitical Diary, Stratfor Global Intelligence. April 25, 2014. Available: http://www.stratfor.com/geopolitical-diary/possible-us-involvement-ukraine-could-heighten-tensions))
However, the Russians are convinced that the latest operation by Ukrainian security forces is evidence of U.S. military assistance. On Thursday, Ukrainian forces stormed several Russian separatist checkpoints in Slovyansk, killing five separatists and one police officer. Similar to a previous operation on April 15, the Ukrainians withdrew suddenly, reportedly after receiving intelligence of an increased risk of Russian troops crossing the border. However this time the Ukrainian personnel were better prepared and had more professional gear, such as body armor and small arms equipped with high-end reflexive fire sights. For the Russians, such a drastic improvement can only mean direct U.S. involvement, specifically through the U.S. security firm, Greystone.
Their evidence is circumstantial and the Ukrainians have been denying similar claims for some time, but on Wednesday the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister didn’t help matters when he said, “Each day we receive [dozens of tips] on how to conduct anti-terrorist operations. We even conducted consultations with American experts, which…have decades of experience on combatting terrorism and they said that we are conducting a good anti-terrorist policy.” [backref name=“Possible U.S. Involvement Could Heighten Tensions”]
If the United States really wants a diplomatic solution, this is not the way to go about it.