WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States and the international community should provide lethal assistance to Ukraine to stop Russia’s threat to peace and security, US House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday after a visit to Kiev.
“The United States and international community can and should do more to support Ukraine’s efforts to stabilize its economy, build democratic institutions, and defend its territory from on-going Russian aggression,” McCarthy stated after meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko in Kiev.
“I believe this international support should include the provision of defensive weapons, training, and intelligence to the Ukrainian military,” McCarthy added.
“There must be consequences for the growing threat [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s behavior poses to international peace and security,” McCarthy said.
After visiting Ukraine, the US delegation will visit Poland and the Baltic states.
The United States has agreed to provide Ukraine with non-lethal assistance, including drones and Humvee vehicles.
On Monday, the first batch of nearly 200 Humvees arrived in Ukraine.
In December 2014, the US Congress passed and US President Barack Obama signed into law the Ukraine Freedom Support Act. The bill allows to lethally arm Ukraine and increases sanctions on Russia.
Obama's has so far shied away from providing lethal assistance to Ukraine, arguing that any lethal assistance could lead to greater bloodshed and escalation of the conflict.
On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives approved a resolution urging Obama to deliver lethal arms to Ukraine.
Russia has called the Ukraine Freedom Support Act provocative and warned that lethal weapons to Ukraine could escalate violence in that country. Moreover, Russia has repeatedly expressed concern that NATO is amassing weapons near its borders.