(QHA) -

The New York Times has reported top U.S. administration and military officials are reconsidering providing Ukraine with defensive weapons as the government in Kyiv struggles against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The February 1 article said a growing number of U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, are "open to new discussions about providing lethal aid."

So far the Obama administration has limited military aid to Ukraine to nonlethal items such as body armor, night-vision goggles, first aid kits, and engineering equipment.

An independent report by eight former senior U.S. officials that is due to be released on February 2 proposes sending some $3 billion in defensive weapons to Ukraine, including antiarmor missiles, reconnaissance drones, armored Humvee vehicles, and radars that can determine the location of enemy rocket and artillery fire.