18:19 GMT +318 January 2020
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    The US Congress has not scheduled a vote until the end of 2016 to provide Ukraine with lethal aid, Democratic ranking member of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — When asked if there are any votes planned on sending weapons to Ukraine, Engel said, "No."

    "We are going into a new session in January. So we’ll have to see how it plays in January, but right now, not till the end of the year," he stated on Monday.

    Engel noted, however, that he supports providing arms to Ukraine.

    "I am for it," he stated. "I think that there has been Russian aggression in Ukraine that’s unconscionable."

    Moreover, Engel claimed Russia wants to keep Ukraine unstable.

    "I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. So, they are asking weapons to defend themselves. If Russia would withdraw from Eastern Ukraine, there would be no need for any weapons," Engel argued.

    However, Engel also noted he is not in favor of US troops being sent.

    "[B]ut I think we can help them defend themselves," the US congressman added.

    In September, the US House of Representatives approved legislation to allow the supply of lethal "defensive" weapons to Ukraine.

    Russian officials said the move will only escalate violence and lead to more bloodshed.

    At present, US military assistance to Kiev is limited to supplying uniforms and equipment, including counter-battery radars, drones and means of secure communication.

    In August, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly proposed producing weapons in cooperation with the United States on Ukrainian soil.

    The Ukrainian government has been conducting a military operation in the country's eastern regions since April 2014. In February 2015, Kiev and the southeastern militia signed a deal in the Belarusian city of Minsk on reconciliation. The deal includes a ceasefire and means to monitor and verify it, and the withdrawal of weapons from the line of contact.


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