A group of experts has called on Obama to send $3 billion worth of lethal weapons to arm Ukraine

On Thursday, Russia warned the United States against sending lethal weapons to war-torn Ukraine. Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that any such move would cause “colossal damage” to the Russia-U.S. relationship. Lukashevich said that arming Ukraine threatens the security of Russia.

Russia Won't Be Deterred By The US Push To Arm Ukraine

A new U.S.-Russia proxy war

Separately, Russia’s envoy to NATO, Aleksandr Grushko said in a statement that NATO sending weapons to Ukraine could lead to “dangerous and unpredictable consequences.” As Russian-backed separatist forces continue to advance in Ukraine, the Obama administration is seriously considering sending lethal weapons to Ukraine to help defend itself. It could trigger a new proxy war with Russia that Obama has long tried to avoid.

Secretary of State John Kerry hardened the U.S. tone after meeting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Thursday. He said that the U.S. cannot close its eyes to tanks that Russia is sending to help pro-Kremlin separatists. He also accused Russia of sending fighters in unmarked uniforms across the border into Ukraine.

A recent report by a group of eight foreign policy experts has called on Obama to send $3 billion worth of lethal weapons, including anti-mortar and anti-tank systems, to arm Ukraine. The next Defense Secretary Ashton Carter gave the idea further push during a hearing on Wednesday. He said he was “very much inclined” to support Ukraine by providing lethal defensive arms.

Can U.S. afford to send lethal weapons against Russia?

That means the U.S. would be sending lethal arms to be used against Russian forces. Despite all the sanctions, Vladimir Putin has shown that he was ready to escalate the situation. NATO general Philip Breedlove warned Thursday that arming Ukraine could lead to a “more strident” reaction from Kremlin. United States needs Russian help on critical issues such as the Iran nuclear talks, chaos in Afghanistan and the Middle-East.

Eugene Rumer, who served as the national intelligence officer at the U.S. National Intelligence Council from 2010 to 2014, said that providing arms to Ukraine would only prolong the conflict. This move “will not deter Putin,” Rumer said. It could prove insufficient and dangerous. That’s because arming Ukraine could take the United States in a whole new direction that nobody has thought of. Rumer said that these consequences were “quite real.”