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US Mulls Providing Ukraine Troops with “Defensive” Weapons

2 February 2015 14:10

Kerry_Dempsey

The United States is mulling to send “defensive” weapons to Kiev forces, The New York Times has reported.

The daily cited NATO’s military commander, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove as one of the advocates of the move. He is now reportedly leading the crusade to provide lethal military assistance to Kiev to battle the anti-government forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics after failed talks in Minsk this weekend, NYT reported.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey“General Breedlove has repeatedly stated that he supports the pursuit of a diplomatic solution as well as considering practical means of support to the government of Ukraine in its struggle against Russian-backed separatists,” the spokesman, Capt. Gregory L. Hicks of the Navy, told the NYT.

Interviewing a number of decision makers that chose to remain anonymous until or if any policy shift on lethal aid to Ukraine is announced, the publication reported that Secretary of State John Kerry and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, are now “open for discussions.”

One official said that Susan E. Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, is also now prepared to hear arguments for helping Kiev battle the self-proclaimed republics. If true, this would signal a paradigm shift in the White House’s approach to the issue, which has so far been reluctant to escalate the crisis further through withholding any lethal assistance to Ukraine.

“Although our focus remains on pursuing a solution through diplomatic means, we are always evaluating other options that will help create space for a negotiated solution to the crisis,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

Another Pentagon official told the publication that General Dempsey and Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, now also believe that providing “defensive weapons” to Ukraine should be considered.

“A comprehensive approach is warranted, and we agree that defensive equipment and weapons should be part of that discussion,” the Pentagon official said.

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