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Rounds, Thune Support Arms For Ukraine

South Dakota’s U.S. Senator Mike Rounds supports giving direct military aid to Ukraine in their battle against pro-Russian separatists.

Rounds says the evidence is clear that pro-Russian rebels fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine are being supplied with Russian military weapons and support.   

He says the Ukrainians need American military weapons and hardware to level the playing field.

Rounds  joined a bi-partisan group of Senators calling on President Obama to support the delivery of lethal weapons to the conflict.    Rounds says this would send a message to the Russians.

“Sometimes you can slow a bully down by allowing the Ukrainians to punch him in the nose.   So that’s kind of the intent behind it.  We hope it will bring diplomacy into the picture when the Russians find out they can’t do it without little cost to themselves,” says Rounds.  

US Senator John Thune says he also supports sending military aid including weapons to Ukraine.  

But critics warn the move could backfire.  Some see Russian President Vladimir Putin as a loose cannon.   They say giving direct military aid to the Ukrainians could escalate the conflict rather than reduce it.      

Meanwhile, Ashton Carter, President Obama’s nominee for the next Secretary of Defense voiced his support for direct military aid to Ukraine during confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate.