Russian Federation attacks U.S. decision to arm Ukraine

Accused Russian spy was in the room for Trudeau talks with Ukrainian PMMore

The state department has announced that the USA will hand Ukraine "enhanced defensive capabilities".

"The United States has chose to provide Ukraine enhanced defensive capabilities as part of our effort to help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity, to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to deter further aggression", Nauert said.

The state department did not specify what kind of weapons Kiev will receive, neither confirming nor denying the reports, but emphasized that Washington "remains committed to the Minsk agreements as the way forward in eastern Ukraine". The total "defense package" will amount to $47 million and also covers the sale of 210 anti-tank missiles and 35 launchers, ABC reported.

"With lethal weapons supplies, the USA gives a clear signal to Kiev that it will support a military option", Alexei Pushkov, the head of the upper house's information committee, said on Twitter.

"The United States has crossed a line by announcing its intention to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine", Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said yesterday.

Ukraine has long sought to boost its defenses against Russian-backed separatists armed with tanks that have rolled through eastern Ukraine during violence that has killed more than 10,000 since 2014.

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He also said the US can no longer cast itself as a mediator.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against any USA move to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine, saying it would fuel the conflict and could lead the separatists to expand their military operations.

"The truth is that this is not a game changer on the ground in Ukraine", he said. The stern Moscow warning came after a new ceasefire deal between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels went into effect from midnight on Saturday ahead of the New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays. Ukraine accuses Russian Federation of sending the tanks, and the US says Moscow is arming, training and fighting alongside the separatists. "I have long argued, providing defensive lethal assistance to Ukraine is not opposed to a peace in Ukraine - it is essential to achieving it".

The move comes amid a recent uptick in clashes between Ukrainian soldiers and Russian-backed separatists, and the same week the Trump administration announced it would permit sales of some small arms to Ukraine from United States manufacturers. President Barack Obama also considered sending lethal weapons to Ukraine, but left office without doing so.

Another Russian deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, said the United States move would undermine efforts to reach a political settlement in Ukraine.

"It stands as the single most hard obstacle to us renormalizing the relationship with Russian Federation, which we badly would like to do", Tillerson said.

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