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WASHINGTON, February 23. /TASS/. Pentagon's new chief, Ashton Carter, said on Sunday he has not yet given any recommendations for President Barack Obama on whether Washington should send lethal arms to the Kiev authorities.
Carter, who arrived in Afghanistan on his first foreign trip, said the US administration was "supportive of the Ukrainian government in its efforts to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty." However, "fundamentally the support has to be political and economic," he stressed.
"But there can be a security dimension to it also," he said. The US defence secretary, who assumed office on February 17, said he was "open minded about what form" such assistance to Kiev could take.
"I have not yet, having been in the job just a few days, made my own assessment of that. And of course I couldn't share that assessment if I had with you before I shared it with the president anyway," he said.
During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in early February, Carter said he supported giving lethal arms to Ukraine. He noted that this move was risky and the US should expect the possible consequences.
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier said Moscow was concerned by Washington’s plans to begin supplies of modern lethal weapons to Kiev as this not only could escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine but also threaten the security of Russia.