Washington is considering whether to send arms to help the Ukraine government against pro-Russian rebels. The re-think follows recent gains by the separatists who have re-ignited the war in the east.
But the administration is split and there is a risk of the conflict turning into a proxy war between the US and Russia.
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki:
“We certainly want to help Ukraine, a sovereign government, thrive and and go through this transition period. No decisions have been made. I’m talking about the fact that we, of course, preserve the right to consider a range of options.”
On Monday separatists pounded Ukrainian army positions holding a strategic rail town as both sides mobilised more forces.
A possible change in policy by Washington reflects frustration with Moscow whom it accuses of arming the rebels despite months of international economic sanctions’s and the collapse of the latests attempt at peace talks at the weekend.
On Thursday US Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Kyiv for talks with Ukraine’s government, the same day NATO defence ministers meet in Brussels.
President Barack Obama will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House on Monday. She has said Germany would not supply weapons to Kyiv’s military but has not objected to Washington doing so.