Ukrainian president asks US for weapons

By Alvaro Pena

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was given a warm welcoming applause by the U.S. Congress Thursday morning in a joint meeting. Poroshenko thanked the U.S. for the nonlethal equipment it has provided to Ukraine’s military, but said that lethal aid was needed to stop Russian-backed separatists.

“Blankets and night vision goggles are important, but one cannot win a war with a blanket,” Poroshenko said before meeting with President Obama.

In a 40-minute address to the U.S. Congress, Poroshenko told stories of Ukrainian hero’s who were abducted and mutilated by Russian militants. Heroes who died so that their children could live in a free and democratic country. Poroshenko and the U.S. want to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Ukraine is not alone and that his dictatorship will not be tolerated.

Poroshenko met with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss the issues and to come to an agreement.

 “The picture of President Poroshenko sitting in the Oval Office will be worth at least a thousand words — both in English and Russian,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Many within the Obama administration agree with Poroshenko, that lethal aid must be given to Ukraine so that they can stop Russian future provocations. Lawmakers have also put pressure on President Obama to give lethal aid to Ukraine but President Obama opposes the idea. He believes that arming Ukraine is not the solution to ending the conflict.

“President Putin has up ended the international order, and a slap on the wrist will not deter future Russian provocations,” the committee’s chairman, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said. “In the face of Russian aggression, Ukraine needs our steadfast and determined support, not an ambiguous response. We are left with no choice but to apply tough sanctions against Russia, coupled with military assistance to Ukraine.”

According to U.S. officials, President Obama will announce a security assistance packages that includes counter mortar radar that can detect incoming artillery fire. Vehicles, patrol boats, body armor and heavy engineering equipment also will be provided to Ukraine.

The U.S will support Ukraine political and economic actions so that the Ukrainian nation can become stabilized once again. The U.S has given Ukraine $53 million in aid.

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