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U.S. Senator John McCain is interviewed during the 2017 "Congress of Tomorrow" Joint Republican Issues Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela

(reuters_tickers)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain asked President Donald Trump on Thursday to help Ukraine defend itself against an increase in recent attacks from Russia.

"In light of the latest Russian attacks and the prospect of future aggression against Ukraine, I urge you to exercise the authority given to you by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 to provide defensive lethal assistance to Ukraine to defend its territory against further violations by Russia and its separatist proxies," McCain said in a letter.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu)

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