The Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Stepan Poltorak, urged the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to continue providing political and military assistance to Ukraine and to maintain sanctions against Russia to deter further escalation of hostilities in eastern Ukraine. Poltorak stated this in his interview with Radio Svoboda on the day after Trump’s inauguration.
“It is extremely important for Ukraine to have the political support of the United States and maintain sanctions imposed against Russia as this is one of the most important aspects for deterrence of further escalations on the part of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin,” Poltorak said.
The Defense Minister noted that lifting sanctions will send a dangerous message to Russia and other countries that violate international law, being well aware that their actions could result in world chaos. According to Poltorak, Russia’s main goal is the seizure of large territories of Ukraine or even the invasion of a NATO Member State.
The Minister of Defense of Ukraine also emphasized that Kyiv receives foreign assistance from about 18 countries but receives the major part of it—including provision of military equipment and training for soldiers—from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Lithuania. Since 2014, Washington’s assistance to Ukraine has totaled more than $1.3 billion, taking into account the cost of equipment and exercises.
Poltorak added that only Lithuania provided Ukraine with small arms and their ammunition while U.S. assistance, especially in training of troops, is crucial for Ukraine.
“Unfortunately, we can’t influence any of Donald Trump’s decisions., The President can decide to provide U.S. assistance to Ukraine or fail to decide on it,” Poltorak stated, adding that in spite of this, Ukraine will defend itself until the end.
“The only thing I know for sure is that Putin and his forces will not be able to easily walk around the territories of Ukraine,” the Defense Minister added. According to him, the conflict in Donbas can be resolved only by political and diplomatic means but it is possible only if Ukraine has a powerful army.
As previously reported, on January 20, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, stated that he hopes to continue fruitful cooperation between Ukraine and the United States and expects transatlantic unity.
Trump, who was inaugurated as President on the 20th of January, previously suggested the reduction or lifting of sanctions imposed against Russia arising from the annexation of the Crimea and support of separatists in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, Trump stated in one of his latest interviews with the Wall Street Journal that sanctions will be maintained for some time.