In a major departure from the Obama administration, the Trump White House has agreed to provide anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, which is battling pro-Moscow rebels in the country’s east.
The arms transfers will include Javelin anti-tank missiles, which have long been sought by the Ukrainian military as it battles rebels using Russian-made armored vehicles.
The State Department on Wednesday previously acknowledged that the Trump administration agreed to provide long-range sniper rifles to Ukrainian forces, but at the time officials said they had not “ruled out the option” of transferring heavier weapons.
The administration notified Congress of its decision on heavy weapons on Friday
The State Department would not officially confirm the arms transfers include anti-armor weapons, saying only that the U.S. is providing “enhanced defensive capabilities” to Kiev.
“The United States has decided to provide Ukraine enhanced defensive capabilities as part of our effort to help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity, to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to deter further aggression,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement released late Friday. “U.S. assistance is entirely defensive in nature, and as we have always said, Ukraine is a sovereign country and has a right to defend itself.”
Trump’s approval comes just days after Moscow withdrew from a temporary ceasefire agreement amid renewed hostilities between rebel forces and Ukrainian troops, some of the heaviest this year. [source]
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