Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he has had “very effective” talks with US President Donald Trump during a visit to Washington about the US’s provision of “defensive” lethal weapons to Ukraine.
Poroshenko said on Wednesday that he had had “very effective negotiations for defensive weapons” with his American counterpart in the meeting in Washington on Tuesday.
“We talked that we don’t need to attack anybody but we want to have an effective mechanism to defend by radioelectronic warfare, by drones, by everything,” Poroshenko told FOX news.
After the meeting with Poroshenko, Trump said “a lot of progress has been made” in the relations between the two countries and that the two had “very, very good discussions.”
Poroshenko had said earlier in Washington, “We received strong support from the US side, support in terms of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the independence of our state.” But he declined to directly answer a question by reporters about whether it was time for Washington to start selling lethal arms to Ukraine.
The government in Kiev has been engaged in an armed conflict with pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine.
Kiev has repeatedly requested more advanced weaponry from the US. The administration of former US president Barack Obama had refused to supply it with lethal weaponry and instead provided Kiev with $600 million in military assistance, including training, equipment, and advice.
In September 2016, the US House approved legislation to allow the supply of lethal “defensive” arms to Kiev, but it still needs to be approved by the US Senate and signed by the US president.
The Pentagon said earlier that the Trump administration did not rule out the option of providing Ukraine with lethal weapons.
Moscow has several times warned Washington against supplying Kiev with such weapons, arguing that the move could seriously affect the balance of power in the region.
The Trump-Poroshenko meeting took place on the same day that the US added more Russian individuals and entities to its list of those facing sanctions over Moscow’s alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis.
The economic sanctions against Moscow were originally introduced in March 2014, after the strategic Black Sea peninsula of Crimea joined Russia following a referendum.
Since then, the US and some other Western countries have imposed several more rounds of sanctions against Russia over accusations that Moscow has been involved in the deadly crisis in Ukraine, which has so far killed more than 10,000 people. The Kremlin has, however, strongly rejected the accusations.