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New US Congress to Pursue Lethal Military Aid to Ukraine

© Sputnik / Igor Mikhalev / Go to the photo bankThe newly-elected US Congress is likely to continue pushing for providing lethal military assistance to the Kiev government.
The newly-elected US Congress is likely to continue pushing for providing lethal military assistance to the Kiev government. - Sputnik International
Experts, addressing a conference on Ukraine, Russia and the West in Washington, saying that the newly-elected US Congress will probably support providing lethal military assistance to the Kiev government, requested by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during his July visit to US.

WASHINGTON, November 11 (Sputnik) – The newly-elected US Congress is likely to continue pushing for providing lethal military assistance to the Kiev government, experts addressing a conference on Ukraine, Russia and the West in Washington, DC told Sputnik Tuesday.

"It is safe to assume the new Congress will make more of an issue of this than less," Robert Nurick, a US defense policy expert at the Atlantic Council, said, commenting on Congress efforts to allocate lethal military aid to the government of Ukraine.

"It's clearly an issue already among Senators, who are staying there and have made it clear they want to keep this issue on the table," Nurick added, saying that the views of the newly-elected US Congress members "are going to be…more outspoken about Russia".

During a July visit to Washington, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko requested lethal military aid from the Obama administration and Washington refused to grant it.

It is still unclear whether the Obama administration could change its position on providing weapons to Kiev, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Eric Rubin, told Sputnik.

"That is a decision for my boss, the president, to make," Rubin said, adding that Congress will continue the policy course of providing lethal assistance to Kiev.

"This has been an ongoing debate; this will continue, particularly on Capitol Hill," Rubin stressed.

Nurick agreed with his position, saying that the "issue will not go away".

In mid-September, US Senators Robert Menendez and Bob Corker initiated the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which passed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was then introduced in the full Senate.

Both Corker and Menendez have kept their seats in the Senate, following the midterm elections in the United States, but the Freedom Support Act is still pending further action.

Corker and Menendez have also introduced the Russian Aggression Prevention Act, which specifically calls on the US President to provide $100 million of military assistance to Ukraine, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. The bill has not gone beyond the Foreign Relations Committee.

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