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Pentagon nominee leaning toward sending arms to Ukraine

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's pick to run the Pentagon says he's inclined to back increased U.S. assistance to Ukraine — including lethal arms — to fight against Russian-backed anti-government rebels.

Ashton Carter said Wednesday at his confirmation hearing that he leans toward advocating sending weapons to Ukraine.

President Barack Obama is reconsidering his opposition to giving Ukraine defensive weapons and other lethal aid to help its struggling military repel Russian-backed rebels in the eastern part of the country, in a possible escalation that has had strong support from many in Obama's national security team.

Carter made the comment under questioning by Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.