Nelson: Ukraine needs more military aid

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said after meeting with top Ukrainian officials, it was clear the United States could do more to help them militarily.

“What is bell-clear is that the Ukrainian people want their freedom and democracy,” Nelson said Thursday in Kiev. “It must be made equally clear to Mr. Putin that he needs to back away from this fight.”

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His comments came before Russian artillery units began firing on Ukrainian forces on Friday.

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea and has been supporting pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, the Obama administration has given Ukraine food and medical supplies as well as nonmilitary assistance, such as night-vision goggles. 

Nelson said because Putin isn’t backing off, the United States should consider giving Ukraine more military weapons and intelligence assistance.

Nelson serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and is in Ukraine on a fact-finding trip. The Senate could consider the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) when it returns in September. Lawmakers could include more aid for Ukraine in that bill.

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