KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said late Tuesday that his confident that the United States will send weapons to his country to help it fight pro-Russian rebels, a step the Americans reportedly are considering.
Government forces have been fighting Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine for 10 months in a conflict that has left 5,300 people dead.
U.S. President Barack Obama has opposed sending lethal assistance to Ukraine’s government, but a senior administration official told The Associated Press earlier this week the surge in fighting has spurred the White House to review the policy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday said that she was opposed to the idea.
Poroshenko said on a visit to a government-controlled city in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday that it needs the lethal aid badly to help repel the separatist attacks.
“I don’t have a slightest doubt that the decision to supply Ukraine with weapons will be made by the United States as well as by other partners of ours,” he said on a visit to Kharkiv, “because we need to have the capabilities to defend ourselves.”
In Kiev, military spokesman Vladislav Seleznev said two Ukrainian troops have been killed and 18 injured in the past 24 hours. The most intense fighting is now focused about the railway hub of Debaltseve where, according to Seleznev, the rebels mounted an offensive on the Ukrainian troops.