Washington — American lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Monday to urge President Obama to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons to defend itself against Russian “aggression.”
The US House of Representatives approved the resolution in a broadly bipartisan 348-48 vote, heaping further pressure on the Obama administration to end its delays in providing weapons and other heavy military equipment to Kiev forces.
Congress has spoken with a largely united voice on the issue — several lawmakers have spoken out about directly arming Ukraine forces — but there are splits in the Obama administration.
Following reported violations of a ceasefires between Ukraine’s government forces and pro-Russian separatist rebels, the White House this month announced it will deliver a $75-million package of non-lethal defensive equipment to the Ukrainians.
But Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that he would “absolutely consider providing lethal aid,” while Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at his confirmation hearing that he too was “inclined” in that direction.