World Bulletin / News Desk
President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday thanked the U.S. for its decision to supply Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons.
“I am grateful for the leadership of President Donald Trump, clear position of all our American friends, and for strong bipartisan support of Ukraine," Poroshenko said, according to a presidential statement.
Poroshenko said Washington's step was an "adequate" response to the occupation of the Ukrainian territory and the failure of Russia to fulfill its commitments.
He said American weapons in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers will not be used for an offense, but rather for a "stronger" rebuff of Russia and for the protection of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, as well as for self-defense.
"It is also a transatlantic vaccination against the Russian virus of aggression," Poroshenko added.
His remarks came a day after the State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert announced that the U.S.will provide Ukraine "enhanced defensive capabilities" to help the country defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Saturday warned Washington of "crossing the line".
"American weapons can lead to new victims in our neighboring country and we can not remain indifferent to this," Ryabkov said, according to a foreign ministry statement.
He said the U.S. is "clearly" pushing Kiev to a "new bloodshed".
Ukraine has been wracked by conflict since March 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea after an illegal independence vote.
The UN General Assembly voted to proclaim the Russian annexation illegal.
Along with many UN countries, the U.S., the EU and Turkey also do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.
Conflict parties signed the Minsk cease-fire agreement in February 2015, with the mediation of France and Germany, but the fighting continued, claiming more than 10,000 lives, according to the UN.
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