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MOSCOW, 6 March. /TASS/. NATO’s just-started military drills and the airlifting of 300 US paratroopers to Lviv are a crude violation of the United States’ professed commitment to restoring peace to Ukraine, polled experts have told TASS.
On Tuesday, March 4, six NATO ships entered the Black Sea - The USS Vicksburg, Canada’s The Fredericton, Turkey’s the Turgutreis, Germany’s The Spessart, Italy’s the Aliseo, and Romania’s The Regina Maria. US Vice-Admiral Brad Williamson is in charge of the group. According to NATO’s press-service the ships will be practising protection from air raids and from torpedo attacks by submarines.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that "these days up to 300 paratroopers of the US 173rd airborne brigade, stationed in Italy, are being airlifted to the Yavorov firing range, the Lvov Region."
The troops will be instructing Ukrainian military in the use of foreign military hardware, Lukashevich said. Also, the Russian Foreign Ministry once again expressed concern over Washington’s intention to supply weapons to Kiev. Lukashevich said that against the background of what he described as "rather successful implementation of the Donbass ceasefire agreements the reports of likely weapons supplies due to begin soon will jeopardize international efforts for restoring peace to Donbass."
The deputy director of the Institute of US and Canada Studies, Major-General Pavel Zolotaryov, believes that the United States is not interested in implementing the February 12 Minsk agreements on the peace settlement of the conflict in the east of Ukraine. "Washington does not need a peace settlement in Donbass, because in that case Kiev would have to hold talks with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics on their special status. In the meantime, the ultimate aim of the White House’s efforts is to help Kiev force both Donetsk and Luhansk into submission. And it has to be admitted that the combat potential of the Ukrainian army is growing noticeably."
"In defiance of the realities the United States keeps mounting pressures on Moscow by prolonging the anti-Russian sanctions for one year and by the show of military muscle in the Black Sea. This is precisely the aim of NATO’s just-started exercise and of military support for the authorities in Kiev," Zolotaryov said.
"At the current phase of the Ukrainian crisis the White House is pursuing several aims. Firstly, it is to lend more strength to the political forces in Kiev Washington earlier propelled to power in Ukraine. In this way the United States hopes to expand its sphere of influence in Europe. Through the mechanism of NATO, including that of military exercises in the Black Sea, the United States plans to force the alliance’s member states to spend more on joint defense and to press ahead for the US strategic aim of tearing Ukraine away from Russia," Zolotaryov believes.
The president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Konstantin Sivkov, told TASS "the United States is fanning tensions over Ukraine because in Washington’s opinion the implementation of the Minsk Accords would be tantamount to a military defeat of Kiev and the Pentagon in their efforts to quash the resistance of Donetsk and Luhansk militias."
"It should not be ruled out that in a month or two from now, with military assistance from the United States, Kiev will launch another offensive against Donbas. By then the Ukrainian armed forces’ commanders and rank-and-file will undergo training under the guidance of US military instructors. Ukrainian laws permit the appointment of foreign specialists to key positions in the country’s armed forces. Kiev’s plan is to build up forces for attaining military victory over the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. The United States and NATO now show military muscle to make Russia drop its support for Donbas," Sivkov said.
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