During a visit to Kiev, Ukraine on Thursday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis promised that the US would help the country stand up to Russia and claimed that the Trump administration was considering sending weapons to the Ukrainian military, according to a New York Time report.
President Barack Obama also considered such a move in 2015, but ultimately decided against it, fearing that Russia would see it as a provocation to war. However, Mr. Mattis sees it under a different light.
During a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Petro O. Poroshenko, Mattis said, “Defensive weapons are not provocative unless you are an aggressor, and clearly Ukraine is not an aggressor since it is their territory where the fighting is happening.”
“I will go back now having seen the current situation and be able to inform the secretary of state and the president in very specific terms what I recommend for the direction ahead,” Mattis said.
President Donald Trump, who has taken a more favorable position toward Russia than most of his senior advisors, has yet to comment on the situation.
Russia currently has an estimated 3,000 troops in Ukraine.