The Ukrainian minister admitted that Russian troops have been permanently present in Donbas, supporting the militants and mercenaries. On the other hand, he marked that the U.S. weapons that had reached Ukraine earlier, - Javelin anti-tank missile launchers, sniper rifles and anti-aircraft electronic warfare systems, - appear to have made a positive impact.
“It’s an ongoing discussion, because Javelins were important psychologically,” he said. “We have noticed that the Russians [withdrew] their tanks deeper into the occupied area … basically fearing symbolically, psychologically and physically that such [anti-tank] weapons can be used in the case of Russian provocation,” the minister said.
Klimkin added that Ukraine was trying hard to boost the defense capability of the military in the Sea of Azov.
Ukraine has been negotiating with the United States on this particular matter since spring 2014 when Russian troops annexed Crimea and invaded Donbas. For a while, Washington only sent the non-lethal equipment (Humvee cars, reconnaissance drones and counter-mortar radars) and assisted the Ukrainian military in terms of training the staff. However, given the ongoing military aggression of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine, the White House approved the supplies of lethal weaponry to Ukraine.