By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The lethal aid arrived after talks between the American and Russian top diplomats on solving the crisis ended without a breakthrough, prompting Washington to evacuate embassy staff and family members from Ukraine.
The U.S. embassy in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv confirmed that the first shipment of military assistance promised by President Biden entered the former Soviet nation overnight. Biden approved the $200 million security support package in December.
The U.S. embassy stressed that the deliveries include nearly 200,000 pounds of lethal aid such as ammunition for what the embassy called “the front line defenders of Ukraine.” It had photos of the consignment in its message on the social networking site Twitter.
In recent days Britain also sent defensive weapons to Ukraine, which asked for Western military aid. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Britain sent a small number of short-range anti-tank missiles for self-defense and some personnel for training.
The U.S. embassy said the shipment demonstrated what it called Washington’s “commitment to helping Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of growing Russian aggression.”
The lethal aid arrived just hours after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, of a harsh response if Russia was to invade. “I made clear to Minister Lavrov that there are certain issues and fundamental principles that the United States and our allies are committed to defending. That includes those that would impede the sovereign right of the Ukrainian people to write their own future. There is no trade space there. None,” he told reporters.
Blinken expressed concerns about more than 100,000 Russian troops reported near Ukraine’s border. Russia already annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, and it supports separatists in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has killed 14,000 people.
Amid fears of an invasion, the U.S. State Department ordered families of U.S. Embassy personnel in Ukraine to begin leaving the country as soon as Monday, American officials said. Germany is also preparing to evacuate its embassy staff and family members if tensions rise further, German media reported.
Moscow claims it has no intention to invade Ukraine. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was still waiting for a written response to its demands for “security guarantees.”
Moscow says the U.S.-led NATO military alliance shouldn’t expand into Ukraine and place missiles there. NATO counters that it’s up to Ukraine to decide whether to become a NATO member state.
Following their tense talks in Geneva, Switzerland, Blinken told Lavrov the U.S. would give Russia written responses to Moscow’s proposals next week. He suggested the two would likely meet again shortly after that — offering some hope that an invasion would be delayed for at least a few more days.
A high-ranking U.S. security diplomat told Worthy News that tens of thousands of U.S. troops are in the region, including Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, and the Baltics.
Several of these nations were occupied for decades by Russian troops. As a result, some have expressed concern about the regional impact of a Russian invasion.
The diplomat said an invasion could happen as early as February during the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. He added there was concern that Russia already has special forces in Ukraine to provoke an invasion.
With Europe seemingly closer to war in decades, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday the current world is “much more chaotic, much less predictable” than during the Cold War between the former Soviet Union and the United States.
He said it’s dangerous because there are no “instruments” to deal with crises. Guterres stressed his message to Russian President Vladimir Putin “is that there should not be any military intervention” in Ukraine. He said he was convinced it would not happen, adding, “I strongly hope to be right.”
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