U.S. Secretary of Defense, after reviewing an independence day parade in the capital city of Kyiv, said the U.S. ‘stands with Ukraine’ against Russian aggression and hinted at providing defensive, lethal weapons.
“Have no doubt, the United States stands with Ukraine.” He said Washington does not, “and we will not,” accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea, a 2014 action that was followed by Russian military intervention in support of separatists in eastern Ukraine, reports Associated Press.
“Despite Russia’s denials, we know they are seeking to redraw international borders by force,” Mattis said.
The SecDef also hinted that the Trump administration may provide, lethal, but defensive, weapons to the Ukrainian military. “Defensive weapons are not provocative unless you’re an aggressor,” declared Mattis after a question regarding provoking Moscow.
Ukrainian President Poroshenko said when asked about Russia and the Minsk agreements, “Unfortunately, Russia is not adhering to the letter, much less the spirit of these international commitments.”