Ukraine’s offensive against pro-Russian separatists may have escalated the conflict to the point where NATO could be compelled to mount a stronger show of force to deter any Russian moves beyond eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian troops retook an airfield and government buildings from armed pro-Russia separatists in the restive east yesterday. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that while the U.S. administration is considering military assistance to Ukraine, lethal aid isn’t an option.
The two Ukrainian operations in the eastern Donetsk region have rattled eastern European members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and that will require the 28-member military alliance to deploy defensive forces to member countries such as Poland, said Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
“You’re not going to see large deployments of troops, but I think that you will see a greater military presence by NATO countries in central Europe, and perhaps even in the Baltic states,” said Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington policy research organization.