Russian Tank Probe in Ukraine Confirmed with US Official

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 2, No. 6, June 2014.

By Anders Corr, Ph.D.

T-72 Tank reportedly destroyed by Ukrainian forces in Snizhne, Ukraine, June 12, 2014. Source: Twitter.

T-72 Tank reportedly destroyed by Ukrainian forces in Snizhne, Ukraine, June 12, 2014. Source: Twitter.

The Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, accused Russia of allowing three tanks on June 12 to cross  from Russia to Ukraine at a rebel-controlled border crossing. The Journal of Political Risk confirmed a tank movement from Russia to Ukraine with a US official who wishes to remain anonymous.

The small tank column is likely a probe to assess the potential reaction of Ukraine and the West to a larger tank invasion that may be under consideration by the Russians. This comes after Russian troops pulsed the border on April 24 in an “exercise” that also served the military intelligence function of testing Ukrainian tactical reaction.

The Russian tank probe in Ukraine comes at a time when President Obama is showing less military restraint than a few months ago. In June he ordered resumption of drone attacks in Pakistan, and he has not removed the possibility of US air strikes in Iraq against Al Qaeda terrorists making territorial gains on the outskirts of Baghdad. With sagging approval ratings in part due to a public perception of weakness in international affairs, President Obama is likely to react to the Russian tank probe with greater rigor, including increased economic sanctions against Russia, and troop build-ups in Eastern Europe. This would put significant downward pressure on the Ruble and MICEX index of Russian stocks.

JPR Status: Report.