Lawmakers press Obama for 'lethal aid' to Ukraine
Senior House members wrote to President Barack Obama on Thursday to push the White House to supply “lethal aid” to Ukraine to combat the growing strength of Russian-backed rebels in the eastern part of the country.
The letter to Obama, signed by eight Republicans and three Democrats, follows high-level meetings that Speaker John Boehner and House members held last week with lawmakers from the Ukrainian Rada, or parliament. The Ukrainian politicians urged more forceful action from the United States.
“In the wake of a cease-fire agreement that appears only to have consolidated Russian and separatist gains since the first Minsk agreement, we urge you to quickly approve additional efforts to support Ukraine’s efforts to defend its sovereign territory, including through the transfer of lethal, defensive weapons systems to the Ukrainian military,” the lawmakers wrote.
Congress in December passed legislation that would grant Obama the authority to provide defensive and “lethal” military support to Ukraine.
“We urge you to lead Europe in challenging this assault on international order, lest our foreign policy be held hostage by the lowest common denominator of European consensus,” the lawmakers wrote. “In the face of Russian aggression, the lack of clarity on our overall strategy thus far has done little to reassure our friends and allies in the region who, understandably, feel vulnerable. This needs to change.”
The letter was signed by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.)and State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas). It was also signed by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.
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