Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on Monday urged the United States and Western Europe to provide military equipment to the beleaguered Ukrainian government, saying that “we cannot stand idly by while Russia and its proxies continue to violate their international obligations and escalate their attacks against sovereign Ukrainian territory, including civilian areas.”
The intensifying conflict in Ukraine has alarmed U.S. and Western governments, and the Obama administration so far has not provided Ukraine’s Army with military equipment to defend itself against rebels who are backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
President Barack Obama has led the push for tough economic sanctions against Russia. In his State of the Union address earlier this month, Obama said that because of the sanctions, “Russia is isolated with its economy in tatters. That’s how America leads – not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.”
Yet violence has escalated since the president’s speech. Just this past weekend, a rocket killed 30 civilians in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Putin has denied that Russia is involved in the fighting.
For nearly a year, Portman has called for a tougher response by the West to the violence in Ukraine. Last May, Portman was in Kiev for the elections in which Ukraine’s voters elected Petro Poroshenko as president.
“As we have seen time and time again, Russian aggression will not be deterred until Ukraine has the military capabilities necessary to deter it,” Portman said in a statement.
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