(Reuters) – Russia’s military is likely a reluctant participant in Ukraine’s conflict, the top U.S. military officer said on Thursday, adding that although he had not spoken to his Moscow counterpart in about two months he was keeping an open line of communication.
“I think the Russian military and its leaders that I know are probably somewhat reluctant participants in this form of warfare,” General Martin Dempsey said, noting Russia’s use of both conventional forces along the border and of proxies inside the country.
The State Department also said there was evidence that Russia intended to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces.
“I think it does change the situation,” Dempsey said, speaking at a security forum in Aspen, Colorado. He added that instead of de-escalating, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has “actually taken a decision to escalate.”