Ukrainian officials have told U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson they need more help from Washington in their fight against separatists they say are backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Nelson, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, this week has been meeting with high-ranking Ukrainian government officials, including the prime minister and minister of defense. He’s on a fact-finding trip and will report back to the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin.
“What is bell-clear is that the Ukrainian people want their freedom and democracy,” Nelson said today in Kiev. “It must be made equally clear to Mr. Putin that he needs to back away from this fight.”
Previously, Nelson has differed with the Obama administration over its policy in Ukraine. While the administration has offered to provide food, medical supplies and some non-lethal military assistance, they are not willing to provide weapons.
Nelson, on the other hand, says he supports supplying Ukraine with arms to help them defend their sovereign territory. “These are brave and courageous people,” Nelson added.