The United States is stepping up its support of the Ukrainian military in its fight against Russian forces. And the government of Ukraine has expressed gratitude for what they are describing as “heavy” weapons sent from America.
The international community has taken notice of this provision from the United States. Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarusian and a strong ally of Putin, warned other nations that any attempt to supply Ukraine’s security forces could bring about a “full-scale world war.”
Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, sent a tweet that he connected with Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State. He wanted to thank America for its “ironclad support of Ukraine.” And he also said that “more weapons, including heavy, are headed to Ukraine as Russia continues its devastating attacks in the Donbas.”
Ukraine’s foreign minister did not clearly identify the kinds of weapons that the United States has given to the nation. Last week, the Senate in America approved a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine. The Washington Post reported that it included almost $20 billion in funding from the Pentagon to send more weapons to the country.
The New York Times reported that Ukraine has recently received American-made M777 howitzers. The Times said they were “the most lethal weapons the West has provided so far.”
At a news conference this week, Lloyd Austin, the defense secretary for the United States, said that America along with 19 other countries agreed to give Ukraine more military aid including high-tech weaponry.
Austin gave the announcement on the same day that the state media of Belarusian, Belta, reported its president had sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. It warned against international interference in Ukraine.
President Lukashenko wrote that Belarus “calls on the countries of the world to unite and prevent the regional conflict in Europe from escalating into a full-scale world war!”
Belarus is willing to stand pretty much alone in its support of Putin and the Russian forces. Most other European countries have been willing to publicly support Ukraine and condemn Russia for the unprovoked invasion of the country.
Belarus has a long-term allied relationship with the Kremlin, and up until recently, President Lukashenko has remained silent on the war, just making veiled criticisms. But now, with Monday’s letter to the U.N., things are escalating.
Lukashenko had called for an end to the war and said that his country would work to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine in an interview with the Associated Press.
“We categorically do not accept any war. We have done and are doing everything now so that there isn’t a war. Thanks to yours truly, me that is, negotiations between Ukraine and Russia have begun,” he said.
But Ukraine has been very clear on what they need the most from allied countries with Ukraine. Kuleba, the foreign minister for Ukraine wrote that there were “four letters” that Ukraine needed as help to fight back against Russian forces. He said that if his country was going to be able to stop the “horrific human rights abuses in the occupied territories,” the four letters needed were MLRS. That would be Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. Ukraine has asked repeatedly for this heavy weaponry since the beginning of the war in February.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the United States has been willing to aid Ukraine by giving older rocket launchers, but has not sent the more-precise MLRS. The White House has been concerned that giving this kind of weapons would be seen as going too far by Putin.
But now, the United States may have taken that step.