Censor.NET reports referring to RFE/RL.
In an interview in Kyiv on Feb. 22, Durbin (Democrat-Illinois) told RFE/RL that the conflict in eastern Ukraine has "reached a point now where we have to be honest."
"What [the Russians] continue to do in eastern Ukraine, in Donetsk, gives no indication they're backing off," he said. "We have to give to Ukraine the tools and weapons they need to protect their own people."
Among other things, Durbin cited Putin's recent order formally accepting "passports" and identity documents issued by the separatists who control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine.
"That says to me he has no plans of leaving [Ukraine] soon," he said.
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U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (Democrat-Illinois), who spoke to RFE/RL along with Durbin, said that lethal arms were necessary "because it is a new world and there's new technology out there, and [the Ukrainians] are competing against an advanced force."
Durbin and Quigley said they would appeal to Congress, where they said there was bipartisan support for helping Ukraine.
Senior U.S. officials including Vice President Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, have both recently delivered strong statements of support for Ukraine and called out Russia for its aggression here.
So far, Washington has provided Kyiv with only nonlethal assistance, including military training.
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