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Ukraine: Lethal Aid And $350 Million In Weapons Included In Ukraine Freedom Support Act, Russia Claims ‘Blackmail’

Ukraine’s lethal aid requests have been authorized by both the House and Senate of the U.S. Congress, with the recently passed Senate bill called the Ukraine Support Act of 2014. Already, Russia is threatening a “response” to the possibility that President Obama may send $350 million in U.S. weapons to Ukraine, saying the possibility amounts to “blackmail.”

In a related report by the Inquisitr, the Russian nuclear navy is currently being modernized at a rapid pace, and it’s believed a suspected Russian submarine may have been lurking in the English Channel. Ron Paul believes that a “reckless” Congress has essentially declared war on Vladimir Putin and Russia based upon the recently passed U.S. House Resolution 758, and government-funded Russian media is warning that giving lethal aid to Ukraine could lead to World War 3 if the U.S. Senate passes similar legislation and President Obama acts on it.

House Resolution 758 officially calls upon President Obama “to provide the Government of Ukraine with lethal and non-lethal defense articles, services, and training required to effectively defend its territory and sovereignty.” The Ukraine Support Act of 2014 does not use the phrase “lethal aid,” but it does give authorization to Obama to “provide defense articles, defense services, and training to the Government of Ukraine for the purpose of countering offensive weapons and reestablishing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including anti-tank and anti-armor weapons, crew weapons and ammunition, counter-artillery radars to identify and target artillery batteries, fire control, range finder, and optical and guidance and control equipment, tactical troop-operated surveillance drones, and secure command and communications equipment, pursuant to the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.), the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.), and other relevant provisions of law.”

In addition, the bill appropriates $350 million in funding for this purpose, allotting $100 million to 2015 and $125 million each for both 2016 and 2017. The bill also calls for additional economic sanctions against Russia and the creation of additional media outlets that would target Russian-speaking citizens.

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Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the Ukraine Support Act dropped a “powerful bomb” on U.S.-Russia relations.

“The openly confrontational nature of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act approved by both houses of the US Congress without debate and proper voting cannot cause anything but deep regret,” Alexander Lukashevich, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said according to The Gulf Today. “US legislators are following in the footsteps of the Barack Obama administration by showing great zeal in destroying the framework of cooperation…. It’s about time the US congressmen abandon illusions about the effectiveness of their sanctions campaign against Russia. We will not give in to blackmail, we will not forsake our national interests, and we will not allow any interference in our internal affairs.”

President Obama has not officially declared whether or not his administration will give Ukraine lethal aid, although White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, “We are looking at it right now.” The Ukraine Freedom Support Act gives the president up to 60 days in order to draw up documents that detail how the bill will be enacted assuming it’s signed.

A former commander of NATO in Europe named James Stavridis is also calling on European nations to send Ukraine lethal aid including weapons and military advisers.

“I think we should provide significant military assistance to the Ukrainian military. I don’t think we should limit ourselves to, non-lethal aid. I think we should provide ammunition, fuel, logistics. I think cyber-assistance would be very significant and helpful, as well as advice and potentially advisers,” said Stavridis according to the Guardian. “I don’t think there needs to be huge numbers of Nato troops on the ground. The Ukrainian military can resist what’s happening, but they need some assistance in order to do that.”

This Friday, Ukraine announced it would conscript 40,000 soldiers and double the military budget. In an apparent response to the passing of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also discussed the revival of Ukraine’s nuclear weapons programs that were given up after the signing of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.