In Kiev, Mattis says Moscow wants to redraw borders by force

Posted August 25, 2017

On the 26th anniversary of Ukraine's independence from Moscow, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accused Russian Federation of menacing Europe and suggested that he favors providing Ukraine with defensive lethal weapons.

Kie - The United States is considering deliveries of lethal weapons to Ukraine and intends to continue supporting Ukraine in defence of its territory and people, Secretary James Mattis said. He said Washington does not, "and we will not", accept Russia's annexation of Crimea, a 2014 action that was followed by Russian military intervention in support of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The aid includes mobile radars that can be used to warn against incoming mortar and artillery attacks and to pinpoint their source. A man and two women have sustained bodily injuries in an explosion that hit the center of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev police spokeswoman Oksana Blishchik said on Thursday.

Ukraine aspires to join Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and other former Soviet bloc nations in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson already has visited Kiev to show support.

U.S. Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, also pressed the Trump administration to act.

Doing so was part of the Republican Party's platform at its convention previous year until it was cut by the Trump campaign.

"We're not going to rule that out right now", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Wednesday.

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Today, Ukraine also celebrated Independence Day as thousands of soldiers and weapons paraded through Kiev.

Two people were hurt in a blast caused by an "unknown object" in central Kyiv on August 24 as Ukraine celebrated Independence Day, officials said, suggesting it could be the work of hooligans.

"Russia put its reputation on the line when it accepted the [2015] Minsk ceasefire agreement, which called for an immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of all heavy weapons, and [granting] the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe unfettered access under the Minsk agreement", Mattis said. "It's not easy making a sovereign state, especially right now with the way Russian Federation has been violating territorial integrity".

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