Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations General Curtis Scaparrotti told the US Senate Armed Services Committee of plans that Donald Trump was keen to provide Ukraine a helping hand to “defend its sovereignty”. He said: “The president recently decided to provide enhanced defensive capabilities to Ukraine, as part of the US effort to help Ukraine build its long-term defence capacity, to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to deter further aggression.” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in December that the country was deploying combat units along its border with Russia, who annexed Crimea in 2014. Tensions between Ukraine and Russia had soured even further last November when Moscow seized three ships and their sailors around the Sea of Azov.
Up to 24 crew members were arrested by Russian authorities for failing to respond to a demand to stop.
This triggered a marital law in several Ukrainian regions located near the Russian border and along the coast of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, which remained in place for 30 days.
The news follows an alleged plot by the US to cripple Russia, with a top Kremlin general issuing warning for war while also calling for action.
Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of Russia’s armed forces, said Washington had deployed a secret strategy to destabilise its enemies by sparking street protests and civil disobedience before launching military strikes.
And the military chief Russia had to “respond to the threat by creating a threat”, suggesting cyber-attacks could provide “the possibility of remote, hidden influence”.
In his annual speech about Russia’s military strategy to Kremlin defence chiefs he said: “Information technologies are becoming some of the most promising weapons.”
General Gerasimov’s extraordinary claims suggest US attempts to topple President Maduro in Venezuela have unsettled the Kremlin and raise fears that Russian might be planning a response to the growing crisis in South America.
He alleged Washington and it allies had “set out an aggressive vector in their foreign policy” and warned they were developing new weapons and “colour revolutions” - the name Moscow uses for uprisings in former Soviet states such as Ukraine and Georgia, which it believes were orchestrated by the West.