Speaking at a hearing of the US Senate’s Armed Services Committee, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, General Philip Breedlove, said that he had recently recommended that the US provide Ukraine with lethal weapons.
On Tuesday, March 1st, Breedlove stated that Europe is facing a "resurgent, aggressive Russia" that is seeking to reestablish a leading role on the world stage.
"Russia has chosen to be an adversary and poses a long-term existential threat to the United States and to our European allies and partners," Breedlove said.
"Russia is eager to exert unquestioned influence over its neighboring states in its buffer zone... so it has used military force to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Georgia and others, like Moldova,” the General continued
He noted that recently, the US Ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, had reported that Ukrainian soldiers were attacked by pro-Russian separatists more than 450 times in one week.
"The report from the ambassador is there are several disturbing trends in those attacks and that is that some of them are now happening in places that were heretofore quiet," Breedlove said on Tuesday.
When asked by US Senator John McCain to clarify his position on providing Ukraine with lethal weapons, Breedlove stated "I have said before, we should not reject any tools. Russia is using all instruments of state power against Ukraine: money, diplomacy, information, military and economic resources. Russia presses using all these tools. Therefore, in this military plane I don't think we can swing some tools of influence. And I have submitted relevant recommendations to the government," said Breedlove.
The US has provided over $266 million in non-lethal military equipment and training to Ukraine since hostilities began in 2014, with current US defense budget allocating $300 million in 2016.