February 28, 2018 / 2:57 PM / 9 months ago

Ukraine president says expects delivery of U.S. weapons in weeks

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday he expected the first shipment of weapons from the United States in the next few weeks.

In December, the United States angered Moscow when it approved the provision of weapons to support Ukraine in its nearly four-year-old conflict with pro-Russian rebels.

In response to a question about when the delivery would take place, Poroshenko said talks with the United States about this topic had been progressing well.

“The first delivery should happen in a very few weeks,” he said at a news conference in Kiev.

Russian officials have said the decision to supply weapons to Ukraine is dangerous as it would encourage Kiev to use force in the eastern conflict zone.

The United States says the weapons it plans to supply, which include Javelin anti-tank missiles, would help stabilise the situation and cannot effectively be used to take territory.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since April 2014 in a conflict that pits Ukrainian forces against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Intermittent clashes continue despite a notional ceasefire and diplomatic peace efforts.

Reporting by Margaryta Chornokondratenko and Pavel Polityuk, Writing by Alessandra Prentice, Editing by William Maclean

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