Washington – Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, said Ukrainian officials told him and other members of a visiting congressional delegation that the country could use more help from the United States — in the form of “defensive” weapons — to help defeat Russian-backed rebels in the nation’s civil war.
Himes said Ukrainian officials are not asking for U.S. troop deployments or massive amounts of aid.
“Considering they have a war on in their eastern provinces, they were pretty nuanced in what they wanted,” said Himes, who is open to considering the request for military aid.
The United States is currently providing the Ukrainian government with advisors and non-lethal aid.
Himes was one of five members of the House Intelligence Committee to travel to Poland and Ukraine last week.
He said there are concerns the Ukrainian conflict is being overshadowed by other world events, including the heated dispute over an Iranian nuclear weapons deal.
“I sensed that they worried that they would be relegated to the back burner,” Himes said.
On Friday, he met with members of Stamford’s Ukrainian community.
“They said ‘We want more publicity’ for the civil war,” Himes said.
It was the first time Himes visited Ukraine. He said he was influenced to travel there by Sen. Chris Murphy’s several trips to the region.