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Published in Stream:
Ukraine LiveBlog Day 202
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Poroshenko Aide Names 5 NATO Members to Give Arms to Ukraine; 4 Deny
7 years
12-Point Peace Plan Issued by OSCE

Yuriy Lutsenko, former Interior Minister under the governments of Yuliya Timoshenko, Yuriy Yekhanurov and Victor Yanukovych, and now leader of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko party wrote an analysis of the NATO summit on his Facebook in which he claimed that five countries had offered to give Ukraine modern weapons: United States, France, Italy, Poland, Norway.

Earlier, President Poroshenko told BBC's "HARDtalk" that NATO members were prepared to give Ukraine precision-guided weapons, but he declined to name them.

Lutsenko's statement was quickly picked up by Western, Russian and Ukrainian media, but within half a day, Reuters published a story containing denials from four of the countries (US, Norway, Poland, and Italy, and "no comment" from one (France):

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied that the United States had made such a pledge. The official told Reuters, "No U.S. offer of lethal assistance has been made to Ukraine."

Asked about Lytsenko's comments, defense ministry officials in Italy, Poland and Norway also denied plans to provide arms.

In France, an aide at the Elysee palace declined to comment.

"This news is incorrect. Italy, along with other EU and NATO countries, is preparing a package of non-lethal military aid such as bullet-proof vests and helmets for Ukraine," an Italian defense ministry official told Reuters.

Norwegian Defense Ministry spokesman Lars Gjemble, speaking to the NTB news agency, said, "We're participating with staff officers in two military exercises in Ukraine, but it's not correct that we're delivering weapons to Ukraine."

A Polish defense ministry spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Jacek Sonta, said by email, "There (was) no agreement concerning supply of modern arms from Poland to Ukraine at the NATO summit."

According to Dagbladet, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense said tonight they had made no such promise, as providing weapons to a country in civil war is against Norwegian law.

The independent Russian newspaper Vedomosti cited Lars Gjemble as telling ITAR-TASS (translation by The Interpreter):

"Norway has no plans to deliver weaponry or technology to Ukraine. At the present time, we are trying to establish why such information was disseminated."

Meanwhile, in France, the issue of the delay of the sale of Mistral warships to Russia continues to draw protests on both sides of the issue:

There's not just the issue of jobs for people in Saint-Nazaire, there's the question of the huge fines France will have to pay Russia for delay in fulfilling their contract -- at least one billion euros, BBC reports.

TV Zvezda, the Russian Defense Ministry's TV channel, reported on the protests of workers, and said, "Russia is building docks in Vladivostok and Sevastopol for the Mistrals."

French President Francois Hollande said "a ceasefire and a political settlement" had to be in place before the Mistral deal could go ahead.

So, France has "no comment" about the supply of weapons to Ukraine, and is terribly squeezed on the question of the Mistrals at home and abroad and -- we'll wait to see what happens next.