Getty Images / Sean Gallup

Ukraine's Army Is Outgunned And Underfunded

With pro-Russian rebels advancing on eastern Ukraine, the White House is reportedly considering arming Ukraine's ill-equipped military.

By Elizabeth Hagedorn | February 4, 2015

The Obama administration is reportedly considering arming Ukraine. The reason? (Video via Ukraine Ministry of Defense

Putin is winning. (Video via Kremlin

Or at least the pro-Russian rebels fighting in Ukraine are: the ones Russia's president claims aren’t supported by his government, despite plenty of evidence suggesting otherwise. (Video via YouTube / 1stVideoChannel)

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It's now all-out war in eastern Ukraine. In recent weeks, the separatists have made major gains in areas held by the military.

They’ve captured the airport in Donetsk. (Video via YouTube / Юрий Касьянов)

And inflicted heavy losses on Ukrainian forces in Mariupol and Luhansk. (Video via YouTube / Action Tube (WAR: UKRAINE-RUSSIA), YouTube / PL Win

And now, the rebels are closing in on a major railway hub in the Ukraine-controlled town of Debaltseve. Thousands have fled their homes. (Video via Радіо Свобода / Військове телебачення України

On Monday, the rebel leader in Donetsk said he planned to increase his forces to 100,000 men to take on Ukraine's ill-equipped and underfunded military. (Video via CCTV

So underfunded that last year, the Ukrainian army resorted to a text-message campaign to raise donations.

This year, Ukraine plans to spend over $5 billion on its military and law enforcement. (Video via Ukraine Ministry of Defense)  

By comparison, Russia's defense budget for 2015 is $81 billion. (Video via Kremlin

"They need more political support! And they need more military equipment – both non-lethal and lethal," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said. 

Currently, the U.S. provides only nonlethal aid to Ukraine, like body armor, first-aid kits and radar technology. Lethal aid could include anti-tank and anti-air systems and armored Humvees.

Getting a lot of attention is this February report from a group of eight high-ranking former U.S. officials. It recommends direct U.S. military assistance in Ukraine to deter further Russian aggression.

The question is: Would that provoke Putin? (Video via Kremlin

This video includes an image from Getty Images and Kevin MacLeod / "Drums of the Deep." 

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