Lethal aid to Ukraine has been authorized by recently passed United States House Resolution 758, which calls for President Barack Obama to send both lethal and non-lethal aid to the Ukrainian military. If the U.S. Senate passes similar legislation, it's possible Obama may choose to escalate the confrontation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, Ron Paul believes that a "reckless" Congress has essentially declared war on Vladimir Putin and Russia based upon Resolution 758, saying that the wording of the resolution amounts to a "poison pill" that will eventually lead to World War 3.
When top Obama adviser Tony Blinken spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing on his nomination for a State Department post, he stated that lethal aid to Ukraine remained an option according to the Obama administration.
"Part of the reason has been that in our judgment, as much as we're able to throw at the Ukrainians in terms of lethal support, unfortunately if the Russians choose to, they will outmatch that easily," Blinken said, according to the Hill. "That said, what we've seen in recent days and in recent weeks, including the blatant violation by Russia of the very agreement it's signed, the Minsk accords, [defensive lethal assistance] remains on the table. It's something that we're looking at."
The option to send Ukraine lethal aid has been very controversial since it would escalate tensions with Russia, which officially denies that it has been sending lethal aid of its own to separatists in eastern Ukraine. Due to this reason, former President George W. Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, believes any lethal aid should be supplied covertly.
"If I were in my old job I would be thinking of lethal assistance [to Ukraine], yes. But this is why you have a CIA. This is why you have covert action," Hadley said, according to Sputnik News. "I would be thinking: do we want to do it explicitly and send a message to [Russia's President Vladimir] Putin? Or do we want to do it covertly? I think we tend now to talk too much and act too little."
Based upon Resolution 758, President Obama is now officially called on "to provide the Government of Ukraine with lethal and non-lethal defense articles, services, and training required to effectively defend its territory and sovereignty." Although the U.S. Senate has not passed similar legislation, U.S. Senator John McCain says the newly elected Republican majority in the Senate would pass similar resolutions and put pressure on Obama to take action in 2015. In response, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich claimed that supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine would be a direct violation of the Geneva Agreements.
But it's possible that Ukraine's lethal aid may not have to wait until the new U.S. Congress convenes. Bob Corker, a senator of the Foreign Relations Committee, hopes to pass a resolution similar to Resolution 758 before the current session of Congress ends in two weeks.
"It's my hope that we [the US Congress] are going to be able to get it potentially… out of both bodies before we go home," Corker said. "You're talking about lethal support. We want them [Ukrainians] to demonstrate the capacity to be able to intelligently use what we would give them."
President Obama has so far limited support of Ukraine to $150 million in non-lethal aid during 2014. But spokespersons for the White House and the State Department continue to say that providing lethal support and training to the government in Kiev remains an option.
Do you think Congress and President Obama should send lethal aid to Ukraine in response to the alleged threat posed by Vladimir Putin and Russia?