On Thursday, during a joint press conference with President Petro Poroshenko, Mattis said the United States would continue to provide Ukraine with defensive support, and is considering Kiev’s request for the supply of lethal weapons. “We do not and we will not accept Russia’s siege of the Crimea and despite Russia’s denial, we know they are seeking to re-draw worldwide borders by force, undermining the sovereign and free nations of Europe”, he told press.
During his visit to Kiev for celebrations of the country’s Independence Day on Thursday, Mattis said that the United States was actively reviewing the supply of defensive lethal weapons to Ukraine. He stopped short of promising aid in the form of lethal weapons – a proposal from the Pentagon that’s awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature.
However, Pierce said Mattis’ comments had to be viewed not as off-the-cuff remarks but as part of a carefully orchestrated and unfolding program to build up USA military power in the region.
Mattis also pledged during his visit that the USA “stands with Ukraine in all things”.
Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France are working on a lasting ceasefire for eastern Ukraine by the beginning of the school year. “In total, there will be nine defense ministers, including the U.S. Secretary of Defense, who will arrive in Ukraine tonight”, Poltorak said.
Carpenter said the weapons under discussion can not effectively be used to take territory, which means providing them would help stabilize the situation.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) issued a statement supporting the potential provision of the weapons.
“As long as the status quo remains, Russian Federation has no reason to change its behavior, and we should only expect more violence and more death”, he added.