MUNICH (AP) – US Secretary of State John Kerry denied Sunday that the United States and Europe are divided over how to respond to the crisis in Ukraine and how to deal with Russia’s role in it despite a debate over whether to arm the government in Kiev.
Speaking to an international security conference in Munich, Kerry said the US and its European allies are “united in our diplomacy” on Ukraine.
He said the US supports efforts by France and Germany to produce a new plan to end the conflict that is now raging in east Ukraine.
“There is no division, there is no split,” Kerry said. “I keep hearing people trying to create one. We are united, we are working closely together.”
His comments came amid reports of a deep trans-Atlantic rift over the Obama administration’s consideration of providing defensive weaponry to Kiev. Germany and France oppose such a move, saying it could lead to an escalation and that they do not believe the conflict can be resolved militarily. Russia, which is accused of supporting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, has said the introduction of US supplied weaponry will have grave consequences.
Kerry said the United States agrees that there is no military solution to the Ukraine crisis that has now killed more than 5,300 people, according to the United Nations. At the same time, US officials say President Barack Obama is rethinking his previous opposition to sending arms to Ukraine despite fears it could lead to a proxy war between Washington and Moscow.
The officials have, however, suggested that any such weaponry would be intended to help Kiev defend itself once a peace agreement is reached.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who met Friday night in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is scheduled to meet with Obama in Washington on Monday.