Kie – The United States is considering deliveries of lethal weapons to Ukraine and intends to continue supporting Ukraine in defence of its territory and people, Secretary James Mattis said.
Mattis, on Thursday during a joint news briefing with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, said that he would submit concrete recommendations on future policy on Ukraine to the U.S. leadership upon his return to the United States.
Poroshenko, in turn, said that it would be better to refrain from discussing the potential deliveries until the ultimate decision was made.
The Ukrainian president added that he was happy with the overall state of Ukraine’s relationship with the United States.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Sputnik Radio earlier in August that deliveries of lethal arms would destabilise the situation in Ukraine, in particular in its southeast.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that such deliveries would not contribute to the peaceful resolution of the conflict between Kiev and two self-proclaimed republics in the southeast of Ukraine.
The chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Gen. Petr Pavel, said in 2016 that the deliveries of lethal arms would only deepen the suffering of the people caught up in the conflict.
Mattis said that Washington had recently approved deliveries of various technology, worth of 175 million dollars, including special equipment that wold boost Ukraine’s defense capabilities.
According to Mattis, the allies of the United States would continue putting pressure on Russia to ensure that it adhered to the Minsk agreement.
In 2015, the parties to the Ukrainian conflict reached a ceasefire agreement in Minsk, brokered by the leaders of the Normandy Four group, comprised of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France.
The U.S. defence secretary also said that Washington would keep backing Kiev in its efforts to defend the country and the people and expressed support for the ongoing reforms of the country’s defence sector, adding that Washington expected Ukraine to implement all NATO requirements.
In July, Poroshenko signed a bill approved by the parliament on June 8, securing the country’s aspiration to join NATO as Kiev’s foreign policy priority.