19:51 GMT19 February 2020
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    The head of one of eastern Ukraine's breakaway republics asks why Ukraine's president is publically talking about the delivery of weapons from nearly a dozen countries in Europe while simultaneously proclaiming his commitment to peace.

    Igor Plotnitsky, leader of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic, has asked why a Kiev looking for lasting peace in eastern Ukraine has just announced the purchase of weapons from nearly a dozen European countries.

    "Yesterday, Petro Alekseevich [Poroshenko] talked about signing contracts on weapons delivery with 11 countries. The question which arises is why he needs weapons if he had first asked for peace," Plotnitsky noted.

    Plotnitsky added that "we have already encountered this [kind of trickery] before, and understand that [Ukrainian authorities] cannot act any other way, because they are just clowns in a circus, while the owner is located overseas."

    On Friday evening, Poroshenko noted in an interview for Ukrainian television channel 1+1 that his government has recently "signed agreements on the delivery of weaponry, including lethal weaponry, with 11 EU countries." Poroshenko did not specify which countries he had in mind.

    Poroshenko added that the US had made a crucial and long-awaited decision this week by agreeing to provide Ukraine with $75 million in "defensive weaponry." The contract includes 30 armored Humvees, up to 200 unarmored Humvees, counter-mortar radars, drones, radios and medical equipment.

    The Ukrainian President noted that his country will not be reducing its defense capabilities, adding that "intensive combat training is being held" and he is prepared to act in coordination with allies in the event of "a new round of aggression against Ukraine."

    In February, senior officials from over a dozen European countries, including Germany, France and the UK had ruled out supplying the Ukrainian armed forces with lethal aid in the present circumstances. The countries made their announcements in response to deliberation in Washington on whether or not to supply Kiev with lethal aid, which had raised European fears about a further escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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    Tags:
    European Union, armaments, civil war, arms race, interview, war, arms, weapons, Petro Poroshenko, Igor Plotnitsky, Europe, Ukraine
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