The United State is increasing its aid to Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry said, noting the “grave escalation” of fighting in the country’s east.
Kerry arrived in Kiev on Thursday to meet with Ukrainian officials to discuss the role the U.S. will play as the conflict between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed rebels flares.
“President Putin can make the choices that can end this war,” Kerry said, adding that Russia must move weapons away from the Ukrainian border. The secretary of state said the U.S. would “continue to support Ukraine as it pursues more democratic and more sovereign clarity of independence, as it ensures its future.”
“You cannot have a one-sided peace,” he added.
During a joint press briefing with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Kerry said the U.S. has committed to sending an additional $16.5 million specifically directed toward providing aid to those in Ukraine’s restive east. The funding will bring total U.S. aid to Ukraine to $355 million dollars.
— Mashable News (@MashableNews) February 5, 2015
“There have been a number of off-ramps for Russia to take over the past couple of months, but unfortunately, they have been kept in the rear-view mirror,” Kerry said, emphasizing that the only way to end the conflict is through diplomacy.
For his part, Yatsenyuk held nothing back in his condemnation of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. “We are not fighting with so-called rebels or guerrillas; we are fighting with the Russian regular army,” he said.
“It is crystal clear that President #Putin wants to split the EU and US but he will fail again,” hawkish Yatseyuk at a news conf with Kerry.
— Ivan Nechepurenko (@INechepurenko) February 5, 2015
Interestingly, Kerry cited social media content as evidence that Russian soldiers are among those fighting in Ukraine. “Social media is filled with comment, and on occasion photos, of Russian soldiers being returned to Russia dead, and parents in Russia being told a lie that their children died in an accident somewhere,” he said.
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