Russia Ukraine war: US walking ‘walking a fine line’ between support and ‘full scale war’ | US | News

The United States is “walking a fine line” between support for Ukraine and a “full scale war” with Russia, according to an analyst. The comments come amid soaring tensions over US operations in the Black Sea which led Russia‘s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to remark that the two nuclear superpowers were already in “de-facto open conflict”.

Ryabkov, in response to the UK providing Ukraine with depleted uranium ammunition, also warned of the possibility of nuclear war with the West just days before Vladimir Putin announced plans to deploy Russian tactical nukes in neighbouring Belarus.

“The rhetoric used is concerning, and it does raise the possibility of the potential use of nuclear weapons. It is essential to note that such rhetoric by Russia is normally used as a political tool to gain leverage or as a form of psychological warfare,” geopolitics expert and founder of private intelligence company Aucoin Analytics Kervin Aucoin told

Although the nuclear threats may be a form of “psychological warfare”, Mr Aucoin admitted the downing of a US MQ-9 Reaper drone by Russian jets over the Black Sea was a “worrying development” and warned the “risk of escalation is always present”.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon released footage of the encounter which showed a Russian Su-27 repeatedly flying towards the MQ-9 and releasing fuel over the drone on approach. The US says the jet collided with the UAV damaging its propeller and forcing operators to down it into the Black Sea. Moscow has denied this and presented the pilots involved with medals.

If one of these “encounters” ended in the death of a NATO pilot, the results could be catastrophic.

“I do feel as though some have brushed the MQ-9 incident off because it is an unmanned system. Had that been a manned ISR system and lead to the death of the personnel on board, NATO would have had no choice but to declare a full-scale war on Russia,” Mr Aucoin added.

The analyst noted, however, that “diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions” were ongoing and that there were “many individuals on both sides who are working to prevent a military escalation”.

The comments come as relations between Russia and NATO have sunk to depths not seen since the Cold War. The US and its Western allies have been providing Ukraine with more advanced weaponry as Kyiv stems a Russian invasion and have imposed severe sanctions on Moscow.

Most recently, several types of Western main battle tanks have been promised to Ukraine, including British Challenger 2s, German Leopard 2s and US M1A1 Abrams. The US was originally going to provide newer M2A2 Abrams but opted for the older model to speed up delivery time.

The influx of new weapons – and more ammunition promised by the Western allies – comes ahead of an expected Ukrainian spring counteroffensive. Recently, the fighting between Russia and Ukraine, although brutal for both sides, has not seen significant changes in the frontlines.

Much of the heaviest fighting has occurred in the eastern city of Bakhmut which has seen tactics akin to the First World War with trench warfare, intense shelling and human wave attacks common. Although analysts have doubted the strategic importance of the city, it’s capture would be a significant morale victory for Russia and Ukraine has vowed to continue defending the town.

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