Tue, Feb 03, 2015 - Page 7 News List

US considering arms for Ukraine

UP FOR DISCUSSION:The failure of sanctions to deter Moscow from supplying weapons has led the US to reassess its policy on lethal assistance, US officials said

NY Times News Service, WASHINGTON

In recent weeks, Russia has shipped a large number of heavy weapons to support the separatists’ offensive in eastern Ukraine, including T-80 and T-72 tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems, artillery and armored personnel carriers, Western officials said.

Some of the weapons are too sophisticated to be used by hastily trained separatists, said a Western official who, like others discussing the issue, declined to be identified because he was discussing intelligence reports and internal policy debates. NATO officials said that about 1,000 Russian military and intelligence personnel are supporting the separatist offensive while Ukrainian officials have said the number is much higher.

Supported by the Russians, the separatists have captured the Donetsk airport and are pressing to take Debaltseve — a town situated beside a critical rail junction.

In all, the separatists have captured 500km2 of additional territory in the past four months, according to NATO. The assessment of some senior Western officials is that the Kremlin’s goal is to replace the Minsk agreement with an accord that would be more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests and would leave the separatists with more infrastructure and potentially a more economically viable enclave.

The report was issued jointly by the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

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