Published: Thu, August 24, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Mattis Says Defensive Arms For Ukraine Not Provocative

Mattis Says Defensive Arms For Ukraine Not Provocative

The US is considering supplying lethal arms to Ukraine, US Defense Secretary James Mattis has stated during a visit to Kiev.

In meetings with Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak and President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday, Mattis is instead expected to promise continuing non-lethal support and reiterate the United States rejection of Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014.

At the same time, he believes that the provision by the United States of defensive weapons to Ukraine could have been a strong motivation for Russian Federation to stop its aggression.

The defense ministers of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Montenegro, Moldova and Georgia were also in Kyiv for the 26th anniversary of Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union.

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But Ukraine's government still holds out hope for better weapons from the United States.

According to the defense secretary, the allies of the United States would continue putting pressure on Russian Federation to ensure that it adhered to the Minsk agreement.

"We do not and we will not accept Russia's seizure of the Crimea and despite Russia's denials, we know they are seeking to redraw global borders by force, undermining the sovereign and free nations of Europe", he told reporters. "We support you in the face of threats to sovereignty and territorial integrity, to global law, and to the worldwide order writ large", he said.

The Pentagon chief also said that Washington had recently made a decision to supply Ukraine with more than $175 million worth of equipment. It was negotiated by the leaders of the so-called Normandy Four - Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany.

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A new ceasefire is supposed to come into force on Thursday, Poroshenko said, to coincide with the start of a new school year. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said some pieces of this equipment would be sent to the Donbass operation zone shortly after the exhibition.

Poroshenko also raised the idea of "the possible presence of the United Nations peacekeepers" in the region in order to protect a ceasefire between Russian Federation and Ukraine.

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While the White House has not yet issued any public record of the exchange, Pentagon chief Mattis's presence at Kiev's military parade was much more openly symbolic. Moscow has denied the allegations.

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