Ukrainian president calls for lethal military aid

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday called on Congress to arm Ukrainian troops, saying, “one cannot win a war with blankets.”

“I urge you not to let Ukraine stand alone,” Poroshenko said. “Democracies must support each other … otherwise they will be eliminated one by one.”

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Poroshenko addressed a joint session of Congress after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) invited him to make a speech. He asked the United States for “special security and defense status” because the world could be on the "eve of the new Cold War."

“It’s impossible to imagine what I am feeling right now,” Poroshenko said. “How symbolic is the unity of the United States Congress and solidarity with Ukraine. This is exactly what Ukraine now needs most.”

As the Ukraine president delivered his speech, his country continued to fight off Russian aggression. Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea and positioned troops along the border of eastern Ukraine.

Poroshenko said Russia “stabbed” Ukraine in the back with its actions and “fans the flames of war.” He said the war would not end until the annexation of Crimea is reversed.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) have introduced legislation that would increase sanctions against Russia and authorize $350 million to supply Ukraine with military and non-military assistance.

“President Putin has upended the international order and a slap on the wrist will not deter future Russian provocations,” Menendez said. “In the face of Russian aggression, Ukraine needs our steadfast and determined support, not an ambiguous response.”

Poroshenko said Ukrainian troops are under-equipped and need U.S. support.

“It is American’s war too,” Poroshenko said. “It is a war for the free world.”

The Obama administration has already sanctioned Russia and provided non-lethal military aid to Ukraine such as night-vision goggles, blankets and medical kits. But despite a cease-fire, Poroshenko said that wasn’t enough.

“They need more military equipment both lethal and non-lethal,” Poroshenko said. “One cannot win a war with blankets.

“I urge America to help us. I urge America to lead the way.”

International pressure against Russia increased after Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing more than 200 passengers.

View photos of Ukraine's leader addressing Congress

 

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