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How long can U.S. avoid engagement in Ukraine?

Retired Air Force lieutenant general shares thoughts on war
Posted at 5:15 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 17:22:19-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Ukrainians are still putting up a brave fight against the Russian invasion as it enters nearly three weeks since the conflict began.

So far the U.S. has imposed sanctions on Russia and sent aid to Ukraine.

President Joe Biden signed a spending bill Tuesday that will send $13.6 billion for military and humanitarian aid.

RELATED: Latest news on the Russia-Ukraine War

However, America has stayed committed to not having U.S. troops enter the battle, avoiding boots on the ground.

As Ukrainians and Russians continue to fight, worries are growing about how long the U.S. can stay out of the engagement.

"I'm more worried tonight than I was on Feb. 24 during the invasion," said retired Air Force Lt. General Richard Newton. "I am worried that it spills outside Ukraine."     

Retired Air Force Lt. General Richard Newton
Retired Air Force Lt. General Richard Newton shares his military analysis of the conflict in Ukraine.

Newton spoke about the risk of U.S. involvement on the ground and in the air.

With new atrocities mounting every day by Russia, pressure builds for the U.S. and NATO countries to do more.

"If you have an attack on one NATO member, then it's an attack on all," Newton said. "That's when really the game changes at that point."        

The Russian Army has already fired a missile close to the border with Poland, a NATO member, and Newton said it's tough to try and gauge what President Vladimir Putin is planning.

"There's some unknowns about Putin. Only Putin knows what he's thinking," Newton said.

Dr. Robert Lloyd, executive director of the LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University
Dr. Robert Lloyd discusses the variety of ways that the war in Ukraine could escalate.

There has been discussion of the U.S. and NATO declaring a no-fly zone over Ukraine, but the White House has been reluctant and for good reason Newton says.

He said a no-fly zone will take considerable assets and require NATO participation, plus there is the risk of miscalculations and mistakes.

Dr. Robert Lloyd, executive director of the LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University, agrees there are trigger events that could draw the U.S. into direct conflict.

"It can be anything, a missile launched in Ukraine that goes astray and strikes a populated center in Poland," Lloyd said. "That would certainly trigger a major response right there."  

If it comes to that, the retired general said the U.S. military will be ready.

"I would tell our viewers that our military today is the best led, the best equipped and frankly ready to defend our freedoms at any call," Newton said. "They will run to the sound of guns."            

Lloyd is hosting a public forum entitled "Russian Invasion of Ukraine: What’s Next?" Tuesday night at the University's DeSantis Family Chapel.

"I think what you see right now is we don't want to get into a war," Lloyd said. "But if the war would come to us or a close ally, then that would force our hand."