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US to undermine Minsk deal by supplying lethal weapons to Kiev — lawmaker

The US Department of State earlier approved an export license for Ukraine to buy lethal weapons from US manufacturers

MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. By approving an export license for Ukraine to purchase lethal weapons from US manufacturers, Washington undermines the Minsk Agreements, which may lead to rising tensions in southeastern Ukraine, Chairman of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Thursday.

"This decision is aimed at undermining the Minsk Agreements and it will also escalate tensions and military activities in southeastern Ukraine. It will definitely not help restore peace in the region," the senior Russian lawmaker said.

According to Slutsky, "the military standoff will be increased since the party, which earlier committed numerous atrocities against civilians, will receive lethal weapons." "We all remember munitions aimed for ‘The Children of Donbass,’ so it would not be difficult to imagine against whom the US-made lethal weapons will be used," he concluded.

The US Department of State earlier approved an export license for Ukraine to buy lethal weapons from US manufacturers. "The Department of State has licensed the commercial export of a limited number of small arms and light weapons to Ukraine from US manufacturers," a State Department official told TASS. According to the official, Washington has "never had any policy that restricts such commercial sales."

The Washington Post said earlier that "the Trump administration has approved the first ever US commercial sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine, in a clear break from the de facto US ban on arms sales that dates back to the Obama administration."

"Administration officials confirmed that the State Department this month approved a commercial license authorizing the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories to Ukraine, a sale valued at $41.5 million," the newspaper added. "We have crossed the Rubicon, this is lethal weapons and I predict more will be coming," a senior congressional official said as cited by the Washington Post.