Kerry meeting nullified by Pentagon announcement to send military aid to Ukraine
April 17, 2014
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly reached “a compromise, of sorts,” on the situation in Ukraine. Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the top diplomats agreed that all parties in the dispute would refrain from “violence, intimidation, or provocative actions” and that all “illegal armed groups will be disarmed.”
Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, during a joint news conference with the Defense Minister of Poland, Tomasz Siemoniak, said the United States will exacerbate the situation by providing “non-lethal military assistance” to the regime in Kyiv.
The material will consist of “health and welfare items and other supplies,” including medical supplies, helmets, sleeping mats, water purification units, shelters, small power generators, hand fuel pumps, and other items that will be used by the Ukrainian military. Last month, the Pentagon sent several hundred thousand meals-ready-to-eat (MREs) to the Ukrainian military.
“The United States continues to stand with Ukraine. And earlier this morning, I called Ukraine’s acting defense minister to tell him that President Obama has approved additional non-lethal military assistance for health and welfare items and other supplies,” Hagel said during the news conference.
The announcement came after the Obama administration put a stop to a previous aid commitment, including body armor and night-vision goggles.
Making a further mockery of the talks between Kerry and Lavrov, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the United States should send lethal military aid to the coup.
“Here is what I would do: I would be sending arms to the Ukrainian army. I would encourage the European Union to expand and take in Ukraine… I would provide serious assistance to the Ukrainians so that they could defend themselves” against pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine, McConnell said.
McConnell also said the United States needs to confront Russia more forcefully.
“I would renew the discussions that the president just dropped, the idea of missile defense and the Czech Republic and Poland at the beginning of his term as a sort of a gesture to the Russians. I would reengage with the Pols and the Czechs and see if we can’t get missile defense back in those countries. All of those steps would indicate without sending in a single American soldier that the U.S. is serious in standing up to this kind of new form of Russian aggression,” he told a Kentucky radio station.