Sought Destruction of Small Arms, SAMs
By Harold Hutchison
Could the Ukraine have been less vulnerable to Vladimir Putin’s bullying? Those questions are now emerging as Russia continues to consolidate its hold and Putin s now threatening to use force.
In a 2005 press release from the office of Senator Richard Lugar, who was at the time the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Barack Obama, then a Senator, was in Donetsk, pressing for the immediate destruction of 400,000 small arms and 1,000 man-portable surface-to-air missiles, while another 1.1 million small arms were slated for destruction over the following 12 years.
“Vast stocks of conventional munitions and military supplies have accumulated in Ukraine. Some of this stockpile dates from World War I and II, yet most dates from Cold War buildup and the stocks left behind by Soviet withdrawals from East Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungry and Poland,” Obama said during that visit. “We need to eliminate these stockpiles for the safety of the Ukrainian people and people around world, by keeping them out of conflicts around the world.”
Putin’s threats come as he has ratcheted up criticism of the removal of Viktor Yanukovych from office, calling the action an “unconstitutional overthrow and seizure of power” and that he reserves the right to use military force. Russian forces recently carried out significant military drills as the crisis ramped up.
Video is now surfacing of Russian troops firing apparent warning shots at unarmed Ukrainian military personnel. One such video was posted on Youtube earlier today: