Kurt Volker, the new US special representative for Ukraine, confirmed that the Trump administration is considering sending weapons to help government forces fighting Russian- backed rebels.
He insisted that such a move would not be provocative but could change Moscow’s approach, adding that “Defensive weapons, ones that would allow Ukraine to defend itself, and to take out tanks for example, would actually help” to stop Russia threatening Ukraine.
“I’m not again predicting where we go on this, that’s a matter for further discussion and decision, but I think that argument that it would be provocative to Russia or emboldening of Ukraine is just getting it backwards.”
Volker, a former US permanent representative to Nato, said success in establishing peace in eastern Ukraine would require what he called a new strategic dialogue with Russia.The US State Department urged both sides to observe the fragile ceasefire in the area.
The UN reported that more than 10,000 people have died since the eastern Ukraine conflict erupted in April 2014, soon after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula. The fighting has displaced more than 1.6 million people.
A ceasefire was agreed in Minsk in February 2015, but its terms are far from being fulfilled.