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Iran Press TV

Pentagon looking for ways to send lethal weapons into Ukraine: Kirby

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 26 February 2022 7:02 AM

The Pentagon is looking for ways to send additional lethal weapons into Ukraine to help Ukrainian forces counter Russia's military action.

"We're continuing to look for ways to support Ukraine to defend themselves," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday. "And we're very actively engaged in those efforts to help them better defend themselves through both lethal and nonlethal assistance."

Kirby said the delivery of arms to Ukraine has become more complicated since Thursday, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a "special military operation" in the former Soviet state.

Putin ordered the operation in the Donbass at the request of the region's recently recognized Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People's Republics, vowing to "demilitarize" Ukraine and defend the people against "aggression" by Kiev.

The Pentagon spokesman said US officials were working through the logistics of delivery given what he called the contested airspace over Ukraine. "We're going to have to look for other ways to do this."

"The airspace over Ukraine is contested, the Russians don't have superiority of it, it's contested," Kirby noted. "We are going to provide additional security assistance for Ukraine, we will. How that is going to be done is still being worked out."

The Pentagon official did not reveal what kind of lethal weapons the United States was looking to send into Ukraine.

"We wouldn't want to put it out there in the public space everything that they're getting from the United States," Kirby said.

The US government has provided about $650 million in military assistance to Ukraine in the past year, and the Joe Biden administration is reportedly asking Congress for billions more.

The White House on Friday requested $6.4 billion in new funding from Congress to respond to Russia's military action in Ukraine. That would include $3.5 billion for the Pentagon and another $2.9 billion to support Eastern European allies with military and humanitarian aid.

The proposal followed a meeting between Biden administration budget officials and congressional leaders as well as lawmakers on key committees.

Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat from Vermont and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he would work with the Biden administration and lawmkers to provide "the necessary resources" to address the Ukrainian conflict.

"The United States government needs to provide the necessary resources to support our allies and assist the innocent people caught in the middle of this needless calamity," Leahy said in a statement.

The proposed spending package will be negotiated in Congress and could change before it is finalized.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons, the Senate's top appropriator for foreign aid, said he believed there would be strong bipartisan support for a bill of $10 billion or more.

"There is strong enthusiasm to provide ongoing resupply and training, and whatever other covert and overt support is necessary and appropriate, for the Ukrainian resistance," Coons said. "$10 billion is probably on the low."

Senator Lindsey Graham, a senior Republican appropriator, has called for Congress to approve more aid to Ukraine as soon as next week, when the Senate returns from recess.

Ukraine has been receiving a mix of military assistance, including US-made Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and ammunition from NATO member Lithuania, and Javelin anti-tank weapons from the United States.



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