France says not after sending lethal weapons to Ukraine at present
Iran Press TV
Wed Feb 4, 2015 3:35PM
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says Paris is not after providing the Ukrainian government with "lethal weapons."
"We have no intention of supplying lethal weapons at this time," the French minister said on Wednesday after holding talks with his Canadian counterpart, Rob Nicholson.
Repeating the Western countries' allegations that Russia supports pro-Kremlin forces in eastern Ukraine, Le Drian said, "We are continuing sanctions (on Russia) as a result."
The comments came following reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry is prepared for fresh talks about sending weapons to the Ukrainian military while he visits Kiev on Thursday.
Washington has so far provided Ukraine with non-lethal assistance such as flak jackets, medical supplies, radios and night-vision goggles.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Tuesday that he has "no doubt" the United States will provide arms for the fight against the pro-Russians.
"We have to have the means to defend ourselves," he stated.
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev's military operation started in April 2014 in a bid to crush the pro-Russia protests.
Violence intensified in May 2014, after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.
The fighting has left more than 5,300 people dead and over 12,200 wounded, the United Nations says.
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