Ukraine: NATO Begins to Supply Arms to Government

Ukrainian defense minister Valery Heletey announced on Sunday that NATO would begin delivering weapons to government forces to, as he put it, “stop” Vladimir Putin. Heletey said he had discussed the supply agreements with NATO defense ministers during the summit in Wales during the first week of September. NATO statements described the shipments as “non-lethal.” When a similar statement was made by Heletey earlier in the month, member states of NATO that were named in his address denied they were sending aid to the government.

Heletey additionally posited that now some 3,500 Russian troops were in Ukrainian territory. The ceasefire brokered last week between pro-Russian separatist groups and the government was strained when heavy artillery shelling outside of the Donetsk airport. Additionally, members of the international monitoring group, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (or the OSCE) were fired upon, and government forces report that rebel forces around the city are not observing the ceasefire and have been repelling attacks around the airport for days.

Despite the breaking of the ceasefire in practice, other agreements made between pro-Russian groups and the government went off without a hitch. A prisoner exchange took place yesterday, under the principle of exchanging 65 prisoners for every 65 prisoners the other side offers. The US and EU  are drafting new sanctions targeted at the Russian energy industry, including their exploration and production in the Arctic and Caspian Seas.

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