WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic and Republican leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee are developing legislation seeking to commit the U.S. government to providing “defensive lethal assistance” for Ukraine, congressional aides said on Monday.
Representatives Mac Thornberry, the panel’s Republican chairman, and Adam Smith, its top Democrat, are “far along in discussions” on a bill to provide such military aid, one aide said.
The U.S. Senate and House unanimously passed legislation in December that authorized sending arms for Kiev to help defend itself against a Russian-backed separatist movement. U.S. President Barack Obama signed the measure into law but it gave him leeway over whether or when to send arms and many lawmakers have been pressing for Washington to begin shipments.
Obama told a news conference on Monday his administration was looking at all options in handling the crisis in Ukraine, but he has not yet decided whether the United States will provide lethal arms to Kiev.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Sandra Maler