A group of top House lawmakers called on President Barack Obama to arm the Ukrainian military Thursday
“In the wake of a cease-fire agreement that appears only to have consolidated Russian and separatist gains since the first Minsk agreement, and in anticipation of the near certainty that Russia and its separatist proxies continue their efforts to destabilize Ukraine and seize additional territory, we urge you to quickly approve additional efforts to support Ukraine’s efforts to defend its sovereign territory, including through the transfer of lethal, defensive weapons systems to the Ukrainian military” the group of 11 representatives led by Speaker John Boehner wrote in a letter to Obama Thursday.
“We should not wait until Russian troops and their separatist proxies take Mariupol or Kharkiv before we act to bolster the Ukrainian government’s ability to deter and defend against further aggression,” they added.
Obama signed legislation Dec. 18 that directed him to impose additional sanctions on Russian entities and increase military assistance to Ukraine.
At the time, Obama said “the administration does not intend to impose sanctions under this law, but the Act gives the administration additional authorities that could be utilized, if circumstances warranted.”
The group of bipartisan lawmakers are now calling on him to utilize those authorities.
“We urge you in the strongest possible terms to use those authorities and resources to meet the specific and direct requests the government of Ukraine has made of your administration,” they wrote.
The letter is signed by reps. Boehner, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce, ranking member Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Armed Service Committee Mac Thornberry, ranking member Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Devin Nunes, ranking member Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations Hal Rogers, Chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Rodney Frelinghuysen, and Chairwoman of the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Kay Granger.