Ukraine leader gets support in U.S., but not lethal aid

Story highlights

Ukrainian President addresses Congress and meets with Obama

Petro Poroshenko sought military aid for Ukraine to fight Russian separatists

After speech, White House announces $46 million in assistance that omitted lethal aid

Washington CNN  — 

American leaders offered Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko a high-profile platform Thursday to advocate for greater support to his besieged military, though the levels of assistance ultimately offered by the United States fell short of his requests.

After an address to a joint session of Congress, Poroshenko met with Secretary of State John Kerry and later with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, where he requested help arming his troops to battle Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine – a request that once again was rebuffed.

“They need more military equipment, both lethal and nonlethal,” Poroshenko said of his military during his morning speech to U.S. lawmakers, saying Ukraine deserved special ally status that qualifies it for elevated levels of assistance.

Speaking in accented English, Poroshenko said during his emotional remarks that “blankets, night vision goggles are also important” in fighting Russian-backed troops but “one cannot win the war with blankets.”