US: Supplying Ukraine to rival Russia’s weapons ‘unrealistic’

WASHINGTON – The White House said Tuesday that providing assistance to Ukraine that would put its military on par with the Russian military is "unrealistic." 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest's comments came as a response to a debate about whether the U.S. should provide the civil war torn Ukraine with lethal military equipment. 

He said media coverage leaves the impression that the U.S. has not provided military assistance to Ukraine. 

"It is important to note that the United States has already provided $118 million in security assistance to help Ukraine in their ongoing efforts," he added. 

According to Earnest, that security assistance includes body armor, helmets, vehicles, night and thermal vision devices, heavy engineering equipment, advanced radios, demining equipment, portable explosive ordnance disposal robots, patrol boats and counter-mortar radars. 

Particularly, the Republican-controlled Congress has pushed the White House to supply arms to Ukraine. The Obama administration, however, has so far resisted. 

"Ultimately, it is the view of the United States that this situation will be resolved diplomatically," he said. "The idea that somehow we, the United States can offer enough assistance to the Ukrainians to put their military on par with the large Russian military is unrealistic."

Still, this does not mean that the option of providing arms to Ukraine is ruled out. 

"We haven't taken options off the table. You know, clearly, there're ongoing internal deliberations about what should be done and what the appropriate kind of assistance is. We're always evaluating those options," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. 

She also reiterated that Washington does not want a direct or indirect military confrontation with Russia over Ukraine or a full-scale war between Russians and Ukrainians on Ukrainian lands. 

"We believe a negotiated solution to the crisis is the right approach, and no decision has been made to provide lethal assistance," she added.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby also touched on U.S. assistance to Ukraine and noted that the focus of U.S. assistance remains non-lethal although the U.S. is reviewing all lethal and non-lethal requests by the Ukrainian government. 

Since the Ukrainian crisis erupted, the U.S. tried to place pressure on Russia's political leadership in order to dissuade it from becoming involved in the crisis. 

The U.S., accompanied with the European Union, has implemented several rounds of sanctions on Russia to isolate it for its role in the situation in Ukraine.

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