KIEV (Sputnik) — Mattis said that he would submit concrete recommendations on future policy on Ukraine to the US leadership upon his return to the United States.
Poroshenko, in turn, said that it would be better to refrain from discussing the potential deliveries until the ultimate decision was made. The Ukrainian president added that he was happy with the overall state of Ukraine's relationship with the United States.
Happy to welcome James Mattis in Ukraine. Visit of U.S. Defense Secretary, first in the last 10 years, is a powerful symbol. pic.twitter.com/IPublCze8I— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) August 24, 2017
Ukraine, which has been mired in a in the southeastern regions for three years, has repeatedly asked for the deployemnt of UN eacekeepers in Donbass and for the supplies of lethal and non-lethal weapons from the European Union and the United States. However, many officials in the EU and Russia have spoken against the move, which they said could undermine the peace process.
The chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Gen. Petr Pavel, said in 2016 that the deliveries of lethal arms would only deepen the suffering of the people caught up in the conflict.
Speaking on Thursday in Kiev, Mattis said that Washington had recently approved deliveries of various technology, worth of $175 million, including special equipment that wold boost Ukraine's defense capabilities.
According to the defense secretary, the allies of the United States would continue putting pressure on Russia to ensure that it adhered to the Minsk agreement.
The US defense secretary also said that Washington would keep backing Kiev in its efforts to defend the country and the people and expressed support for the ongoing reforms of the country's defense sector, adding that Washington expected Ukraine to implement all NATO requirements.
In July, Poroshenko signed a bill approved by the parliament on June 8, securing the country's aspiration to join NATO as Kiev's foreign policy priority.