Special representative of the U.S. State Department for Ukraine Kurt Volker reaffirmed the United States’ support for Kyiv. Speaking at the YES Conference in Kyiv on September 15, Volker was asked about the next round of lethal weapons Ukraine could expect from the U.S and suggested more aid could be provided in the future.
Washington has already provided hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, in the form of military equipment and training.
While he didn’t mention specific new weapons systems, Volker said “We’ve lifted the Obama-era arms ban….we did provide anti-tank weapons, and now we’re prepared to treat Ukraine like any other normal country – which it is.”
“They have improved their defense capabilities significantly since 2014, there are still some gaps in those capabilities, and we want to talk about where those gaps are and we’re prepared to adapt to Ukraine’s needs,” he said.
When asked about the scheduled elections in the separatist-held territories in eastern Ukraine, Volker called them “a completely illegitimate exercise.”
Photo credit: YES conference
Asked about the overall humanitarian situation, Volker said “The situation affecting the lives of people in the Donbass is the most important thing. Let me stress these are for the most part Russian speaking people that live in Ukraine. There are Russian speaking people that live throughout Ukraine – in Kharkiv, Slovyansk, Odesa, Kyiv, everywhere – the only place where Russian speaking have suffered is where Russia has intervened.”
Since Moscow-backed separatists invaded eastern Ukraine in April 2014, over 10,000 people have died and more than 1 million have been displaced.