U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz said Friday that the United States may have to consider more “bilateral” action in Ukraine, given a wobbly NATO alliance.
Waltz, appearing on the Fox News Channel, specifically expects Germany to be a sticking point, given its dependency on Russia for natural gas.
The Defense Department put 8,500 American troops into a status of increased readiness earlier this week. Waltz noted, however, that this contingent is part of a NATO “rapid reaction” force that may be more virtual than actual.
This force exists “on paper,” Waltz noted, but has “never been fully exercised.”
“The NATO Response Force has never been used and it takes unanimous consent from all 30 NATO countries to be able to actually activate and utilize it, and I don’t see the Germans getting on board, the Turks, or a number of other countries,” Waltz said.
“I think we need much more of a bilateral support between the United States and Ukraine, rather than whole reliance on NATO, because they’re compromised because they’re completely dependent on Russia — particularly Germany,” Waltz added.
The Congressman contended that the forces amassed by Russia near the Ukraine border are reservists and National Guard members, “whose sole purpose is occupation duty.”
“That does lean us more and more toward a full invasion,” Waltz cautioned.
He warned that Ukraine needs “more sophisticated weaponry,” as well as assurances America would support “Ukrainian resistance” forces in a post-invasion scenario.
“That’s not boots on the ground. That’s supplies and resources and lethal aid,” Waltz said, saying that commitment would only be if Putin “decides that this could turn into a bloody quagmire for him.”
By convincing Putin that an invasion would be “incredibly difficult militarily,” Waltz hopes that could “deter” the invasion altogether.
While Waltz expects that invasion is imminent, Ukrainian and Russian officials aren’t quite as worried.
Responding to a Joe Biden assertion that a “distinct possibility” exists for a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russian leaders “don’t want a war,” as the Associated Press reports. The AP also quotes Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov telling Parliament that the troop buildup is similar to levels last spring.