Trump Sends Lethal Weapons to Ukraine


Trump Sends Lethal Weapons to Ukraine
“Trump administration approves lethal arms sales to Ukraine
By Josh Rogin December 20 at 5:24 PM
The Trump administration has approved the first ever U.S. commercial sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine, in a clear break from the de facto U.S. ban on arms sales that dates back to the Obama administration. The move was heavily supported by top Trump national security Cabinet officials and Congress but may complicate President Trump’s stated ambition to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Administration officials confirmed that the State Department this month approved a commercial license authorizing the export of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories to Ukraine, a sale valued at $41.5 million. These weapons address a specific vulnerability of Ukrainian forces fighting a Russian-backed separatist movement in two eastern provinces. There has been no approval to export the heavier weapons the Ukrainian government is asking for, such as Javelin antitank missiles.

Congress authorized such sales in 2014 in the Ukraine Freedom Support Act but the Obama administration never made a decision to follow through, a move widely seen as de facto decision not to provide lethal weapons to the Ukraine military. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who co-sponsored the law, praised the Trump administration’s move.

“I’m pleased the administration approved the sale of defensive lethal arms to Ukraine,” Corker told me. “This decision was supported by Congress in legislation that became law three years ago and reflects our country’s longstanding commitment to Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian aggression.”


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