Ukraine’s pleas for lethal aid from US go unmet
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will provide $46 million in new security assistance to the Ukraine’s military but stop short of fulfilling an urgent request from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for lethal aid to help his country fight Russian-backed separatists.
Poroshenko pleaded his case during remarks Thursday to a rare joint meeting of Congress. While he thanked the U.S. for the nonlethal equipment it is providing his country’s beleaguered military, he said more was needed to stop provocations near the Russian border.
“Blankets and night vision goggles are important, but one cannot win a war with a blanket,” he said during a 40-minute address that was repeatedly interrupted by applause from lawmakers.
Hours later, Poroshenko arrived at the White House for discussions with President Barack Obama, a meeting meant to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the West’s support for Ukraine.
“The picture of President Poroshenko sitting in the Oval Office will be worth at least a thousand words — both in English and Russian,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Ukraine and Kremlin-backed separatists have been locked in a months-long fight for control of eastern Ukrainian cities that sit on Russia’s border, aggression that followed Russia’s annexation of the strategically important Crimean Peninsula.
Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. At the hearing, Kerry sought to push back on an argument by some in Congress that Syria’s rebels lack moderates, or at least any with the capacity to make a difference in the war.