Trump Administration Decision on Ukraine Angers Russia

US will supply lethal weapons to Ukraine
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2017 10:32 AM CST
This Aug. 24, 2017 file photo shows Ukrainian soldiers marching during a military parade to celebrate Independence Day in Kiev, Ukraine. The Trump administration has approved a plan to provide lethal...   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

(Newser) – The US State Department announced Friday it will be providing "enhanced defensive capabilities" to Ukraine for its struggle against separatists backed by Russia, the Guardian reports. According to CBS News, Ukraine accuses Russia of supplying separatists with tanks. And while the State Department isn't commenting on what specific weapons the US will be sending to Ukraine, one official tells CNN they include Javelin anti-tank missiles. "Ukraine is a sovereign country and has a right to defend itself,” says State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert. The conflict between Ukraine and separatists has been going on since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. More than 10,000 people have been killed. Russia denies US and Ukraine accusations of supplying weapons to separatists.

Until this point, the US had only been providing Ukraine with non-weapon support. However, earlier this week the Trump administration announced US manufacturers could begin to sell some small arms to Ukraine. The State Department was clear those weapons weren't coming from the US government. The announcement Friday that the US government would supply weapons to Ukraine was not welcomed by Russia, where deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin said the decision "raises the danger of derailing the process of peaceful settlement in Ukraine." Providing arms to Ukraine likely won't help the US/Russia relationship any, and Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emmanuel Macron released a statement urging a peaceful resolution to the conflict. (Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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