Obama Considers Arming Ukraine With ‘Lethal Defensive Weapons’

United States President Barack Obama said that the possibility of arming Ukraine with “lethal defensive weapons” is an option under examination.

New Jersey’s democratic senator, Robert Menendez, was quoted by CNN back in 2014 that the U.S. “should be providing the Ukrainians with the type of defensive weapons that will impose a cost upon Putin for further aggression.”

According to a BBC report published January 9, 2015, Russia has denied accusations of sending troops and supplying the rebels in the Ukrainian conflict. The report indicated that Obama had said that the Russians had violated “every commitment” made by the country in the failing Minsk agreement.

Recent diplomatic efforts come amidst renewed fighting between the Ukrainian government’s soldiers and the pro-Russian rebel forces in a conflict which has claimed the lives of more than 5,300 people and displaced another 1.5 million from their homes. Fighting has been centered around the Debaltseve railway hub, which BBC reports is a strategic location.

Rebels claimed on Monday that they had cutoff a key supply road to the town, however the military has claimed that the battle continues.

Government officials in Ukraine indicated that nine soldiers, in addition to a minimum of seven civilians, have been killed in the past 24 hours as a result of the ongoing conflict.

While alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Obama indicated that the option of arming the Ukrainian government remained on the table, as he said that if diplomacy fails, he’s asked his team to “look at all options,” options which he indicated lethal weapons were only one of the options being taken into consideration.

Obama criticized Putin’s aggression in Ukraine as he said that Europe’s borders could not be “redrawn at the barrel of a gun.”

Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with labor unions in Sochi that this “world order will never suit Russia” but the country is “not going to wage war on anyone” and instead plans on cooperating with everyone, CBC reported on February 7, 2015.

“There clearly is an attempt to restrain our development with different means. There is an attempt to freeze the existing world order… with one incontestable leader who wants to remain as such thinking he is allowed everything while others are only allowed what he allows and only in his interests (…) This world order will never suit Russia But we are not going to wage war on anyone, we are going to cooperate with all.”

Do you think the United States should arm Ukraine with lethal defensive weaponry?