Faced with increasing pressure by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and other members of Congress to take a more active role in the conflict in Ukraine, Lamberto Zannier, secretary-general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said he is worried U.S. lethal aid will exacerbate the conflict.
Liberal media makes argument for lethal aid.
“It may even lead down the line to more direct intervention of Russia in this conflict… Our objective remains that of de-escalating, so I think really the effort should continue to focus on that,” Zannier said at the Munich Security Conference.
“This carries a risk with it, and the risk is that this will strengthen a narrative we are seeing already appear on the side of the separatists, that they are fighting a war against Nato and against the west,” Zannier told the Guardian during an interview in Munich.
“And if armaments appear from those countries on the Ukrainian side, that will strengthen that narrative and might even push the Russians to take a more direct role in the conflict, because it might push Russia to see itself somehow threatened.”
He said the OSCE has not actually observed Russian weapons crossing over into Ukraine, although he believes Russia is arming the opposition in eastern Ukraine.
“What we see is that as weapons get destroyed during the military operations… on the separatists’ side they always seem to have new weapons at hand,” he said.
The United Nations concluded in July there is little hard evidence Russia is arming the opposition.
In January Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country has received no evidence of soldiers and weapons entering east Ukraine despite Western accusations that Russia is reinforcing the opposition there.
Sen. Ted Cruz, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was part of a congressional delegation participating in the Munich Security Conference over the weekend. He said the United States should arm the Kiev government in its effort to put down resistance in eastern Ukraine.
“What we’re doing with regard to Ukraine and with regard to Russia makes no sense and it isn’t working,” Cruz told CNN. “It is long past time for us to step forward and provide defensive weapons so that the men and women of the Ukraine can defend their nation. They are our allies and in the Budapest Memorandum we committed ourselves to standing with Ukraine to defend themselves, to defend their territorial integrity.”
He said the United States has a treaty obligation to support the government in Kiev.
In February of last year the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in a coup supported by the U.S. State Department.
Death Toll Far Higher Than Reported by Kiev Regime
On Sunday, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung cited a source in German intelligence that said the death toll in Ukraine is ten times higher than what is reported by the government in Kiev.
“Germany’s special services estimate the probable number of deceased Ukrainian servicemen and civilians at up to 50,000 people. This figure is about 10 times higher than official data. Official figures are clearly too low and not credible,” the newspaper reported.
The Ukrainian government puts the number at 5,638.