Senator John McCain has called US President Donald Trump to send lethal weapons to Ukraine.
On Thursday, a letter of Senator John McCain to US President Donald Trump, in which he calls on the country’s President to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, was released. The letter was written by McCain, after Russia-backed rebels were accused of attacks this week.
“In the first of what will be many tests for your new administration, Russia and its proxy forces launched attacks against Ukrainian forces this week, killing at least seven Ukrainian soldiers and wounding dozens more,” McCain, who is also a chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote.
“That this surge of attacks began the day after he talked with you by phone is a clear indication that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is moving quickly to test you as commander-in-chief. America’s response will have lasting consequences.”
Last Saturday, Trump and Putin held their first telephone conversation, during which the US President expressed his hope at improving relations with Russia. The White House described the conversation as a “positive call” that “was a significant start to improving the relationship.” According to the Kremlin, “the main aspects of the Ukrainian crisis” were also discussed during the call, though the White House did not mention Ukraine.
On Sunday, fierce clashes erupted in the areas of Avdeyevka and Yasinovataya in eastern Ukraine. According to some experts, it is the worst escalation of the Ukrainian conflict since its beginning in 2014. A number of Western officials have blamed Moscow for backing rebels, while the Russian Foreign Ministry has denied this fact and accused Ukrainian troops of the latest armed confrontations.
According to the annual defense policy bill, the US President already has the authority to send lethal weapons to Ukraine. McCain urged Trump to use this authority, given to him by the US Congress.
“Vladimir Putin’s violent campaign to destabilize and dismember the sovereign nation of Ukraine will not stop unless and until he meets a strong and determined response,” McCain wrote.
“Ukrainians are not asking Americans to do their fighting,” he added. “Nearly 10,000 Ukrainians have died to protect their homeland and many more are serving and have sacrificed for the cause of a free and united Ukraine. But America does have a proud history of helping free people to defend themselves.”
The senator noted that if the US fails to provide more help to Ukraine, there will be risks for the country’s sovereignty and American credibility. He also reiterated his call for Trump not to lift sanctions against Russia and impose new ones in connection with the Russia’s interference in the US election.