Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called on the US to help Kiev modernize its ill-equipped army with lethal and non-lethal weapons during a visit to the US capital on Thursday.
The US has only provided the Ukrainian military — which has been fighting Russian soldiers and Moscow-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine for several months — with non-lethal aid and equipment.
The army needs “more political support through the world,” Poroshenko said during a Thursday address to a joint session of Congress.
“They need more military equipment, both lethal and nonlethal,” he said.
The US has sent only nonlethal supplies to Ukraine, including medical supplies, helmets, sleeping mats, water-purification units, small power generators and hand fuel pumps. For months, US officials have said they are reviewing additional requests from the Ukrainian government, to include vehicles and reconnaissance equipment.
“Blankets, night vision goggles are also important, but one cannot win the war with blankets,” Poroshenko said. “Even more, we cannot keep the peace with a blanket.”
Ukraine needs to build up its army in the coming years, the Ukrainian president said.
“I see it in my utmost duty to rectify the damage done to the Ukrainian military and to give Ukraine a strong modern army that we can be proud of,” he said.
Poroshenko called on the US to give Ukraine “a special security and defense status which reflect the highest level of interaction with non-NATO allies.”