BRUSSELS, November 17 (Sputnik) – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the Kiev government was not planning to launch an offensive against self-proclaimed republics in the east of the country.
“We are not going to fight back Donetsk and Luhansk with any kind of military offensive,” Klimkin told members of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
On Monday, Klimkin met with European parliamentary members in Brussels, Belgium to discuss developments in Ukraine following the recent legislative elections and amid the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine.
Speaking before the European Parliament assembly, Klimkin said that Kiev also wanted European Union’s military and technical assistance to boost the country's military capability.
“What we need is… a very committed assistance to Ukraine in the sense of military-technical assistance,” the minister said, though he stressed he did not imply lethal aid.
“I’m not talking about lethal weapons, understanding the whole sensitivity of this issue, but we need a real deterrence here in the sense of sanctions and in the sense of propping up and strengthening military capability,” the Ukrainian foreign policy chief said.
During a July visit to Washington, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko requested lethal military aid from the Obama administration, but Washington refused to grant it.
The Ukrainian foreign minister also said that Kiev would continue to deliver gas and electricity to Donetsk and Luhansk, knowing it would get no payback. He added the decision to supply the restive provinces with fuel had been made out of “commitment” for its people.
“It’s our commitment to care about these people. Because even at the backdrop of Donetsk and Luhansk not paying us back for electricity and gas, we took a very difficult decision to further supply gas and electricity not to let people freeze under such temperatures, with all understanding that we won’t get a penny back for that,” the Ukrainian minister claimed.
This runs against an earlier statement by Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who said last week that energy supplies for Donbas would be repaid from funds earmarked for social benefits and pensions. Yatsenyuk also said Kiev would seek financial compensation after regaining control over the region.
The conflict in the country’s southeast escalated in mid-April when Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, after they refused to recognize the new government which came to power as a result of the February coup.