U.S. Considers Arming Ukraine to Fight Separatists

Senior Obama advisors are nearing consensus on arming the Ukrainian military.

New discussions about specifically what aid to provide the fledgling Ukrainian forces comes as pro-Russian rebels announced plans to increase their ranks to 100,000 volunteers in coming weeks. Observers say the rebels are unlikely to find so many additional volunteers and this could just be a cover to bring in more Russian troops.

Ceasefire talks broke down over the weekend followed by some of the deadliest fighting to date, with 28 Ukrainian soldiers killed.

So far the U.S. has provided Ukrainians with mostly non-lethal aide, including night vision goggles, Explosive Ordinance Detection robots, armor and patrol boats. The U.S. has even provided counter-mortar radar systems designed to locate the launch point of incoming mortar rounds.

The statement also said the White remains focused on “pursuing a solution through diplomatic means.”

But a new report generated by a group of former senior American officials, including the former NATO commander Adm. James Stavridis, says the U.S. needs to “bolster deterrence in Ukraine” by providing $3 billion in defensive military aid to the Ukrainians over the next three years. The reports says that support should include, among other things, sending unmanned surveillance drones, electronic anti-drone devices, armored Humvees, light armored missiles, and counter-battery radars.