Local reaction to growing tensions between Russia & Ukraine - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Local reaction to growing tensions between Russia & Ukraine

Posted: Updated: Aug 28, 2014 10:48 PM
MADISON (WKOW) – Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) says the U.S. must throw its “full, vocal, visible,” support behind Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The Ukrainian military continues to battle pro-Russian rebels in the country's east. The United Nations Security Council met Thursday to discuss what it believes is increased backing of the separatist fighters by the Russian military.

“It's ambiguous aggression Johnson said. “It's non-linear war that Putin's engaged in.”

Johnson said he believes the U.S. should provide Ukrainian forces with military gear they've requested like body armor and night vision goggles to help them beat back rebel advances.

“The best way to stop this is to provide full support Poroshenko so the Ukrainians can defend themselves and defend their territory,” Johnson said.

Johnson said showing “strength” in helping to back the Ukrainian government now could prevent the United States from being drawn into a messier, Ukraine vs. Russia conflict down the road should tensions continue to escalate.

Dave McDonald, a professor of Russian history at the UW-Madison, said he's not sure that American military equipment will help the Ukrainian fighters all that much.

“You've got to train the soldiers who are going to be using everything,” he said.
“The (U.S.) weapons would also have to mesh with the other, armament systems the Ukrainians have which are largely Russian,” McDonald said.

The U.S. and the European Union have already imposed economic sanctions on Russia in the hope of persuading it to lessen its involvement in the Ukraine.

McDonald said EU countries will again meet to discuss the conflict this weekend and could further ratchet up economic sanctions. He also said Russia is likely to respond by withholding large amounts of natural gas, a major resource, from Western European countries.

McDonald said he does not expect fighting to end anytime soon.

“Russia, I don't believe, is going to settle for anything that compromises the respect or stature that Russian leaders think they've won by asserting themselves in the Ukraine,” he said.

“Russia wants to assert to the US and to the EU and to anybody else watching that it takes its own, regional security very seriously,” McDonald said.

“I think another goal is to modify or shape, to the extent possible, the nature of the emerging regime in the Ukraine,” McDonald said. “The Russians have been consistent throughout in urging on the Ukraine some type of federalized constitution that would take into account some of the regional differences that distinguish the eastern provinces of the country.”

Fighting in the Ukraine began in February when Russian forces moved into Crimea.

The conflict followed three months of protests after former president Viktor Yanukovych opted against signing a trade agreement with the EU in favor of closer ties to Russia.  
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WKOW. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Anna Engelhart at 608-661-2767. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.