Russia slams US supplying weapons to Ukraine as encouraging use of 'force'
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Russian officials warned the U.S. on Saturday that its approval of the sale of arms to Ukraine would encourage the use of force by Russia in eastern Ukraine, according to Reuters

The direct supply of weapons in the conflict pushes Russians to use a "force scenario," Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said Saturday, according to the state-backed RIA news agency. 

The Trump administration approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine on Wednesday, increasing U.S. involvement in the armed conflict and potentially raising tensions with Russia. 

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The State Department is also poised to sign off on the sale of "enhanced defensive capabilities" that officials say could include American Javelin anti-tank weapons systems. 

Trump is expected to sign off on the $47 million in additional anti-tank missile sales, which will then be subject to congressional review and approval. 

"U.S. assistance is entirely defensive in nature, and as we have always said, Ukraine is a sovereign country and has a right to defend itself," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. "The United States remains committed to the Minsk agreements as the way forward in eastern Ukraine."

Russian news agency TASS reported that the Russian foreign ministry believes the sales violate the multilateral Minsk agreements signed by Ukraine, Russia and European allies in 2015 to de-escalate. 

“Americans, in fact, directly push Ukrainian forces to war,” said Franz Klintsevich, a member of the security committee in the Russian government, the Interfax news agency said.