NATO countries have started delivering weapons to Ukraine to help it fight pro-Russian separatists, Reuters reported, citing remarks by the country’s defense minister.
Valery Heletey told a news conference he had discussed weapons deliveries in bilateral meetings with NATO defense ministers during a NATO summit in Wales on Sept. 4-5.
NATO officials have said it will not send “lethal assistance” to non-member Ukraine but member states may do so, Heletey said.
Earlier this month, a senior Ukrainian official said Kiev had agreed on the provision of weapons and military advisers from several members of the US-led alliance. Four of the five countries named, including the United States, denied this.
“We reached agreements in closed talks, without media, about … those weapons that we currently need,” Heletey said, adding that Ukraine needed weapons to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I have no right to disclose any specific country we reached that agreement with. But the fact is that those weapons are already on the way to us — that’s absolutely true, I can officially tell you,” he said.
Heletey said about 3,500 Russian troops were now on Ukrainian territory with a further 25,000 massed on the Russian side of the border.
Moscow denies accusations by Kiev and its Western backers that it has sent troops and tanks into eastern Ukraine to support separatists in a conflict with Ukrainian forces that has killed more than 3,000 people.
A ceasefire has been in place in eastern Ukraine since Sept. 5.
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