The Trump administration has approved a plan to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, a long-awaited move that deepens America’s involvement in the military conflict and may further strain relations with Russia. Moscow responded angrily on Saturday.
The new arms include American-made Javelin anti-tank missiles, U.S. officials said late Friday. Ukraine has long sought to boost its defenses against Russian-backed separatists armed with tanks that have rolled through eastern Ukraine during violence that has killed more than 10,000 since 2014. Previously, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with support equipment and training, and has let private companies sell some small arms like rifles.
The officials describing the plan weren’t authorized to discuss it publicly and demanded anonymity.
The move is likely to become another sore point between Washington and Moscow, as President Donald Trump contends with ongoing questions about whether he’s too hesitant to confront the Kremlin. Ukraine accuses Russia of sending the tanks, and the U.S. says Moscow is arming, training and fighting alongside the separatists
In this video, Defense Update analyses the impact of U.S PROVIDING JAVELIN ANTI-TANK MISSILES TO UKRAINE AGAINST RUSSIA.
TRUMP’S GO AHEAD
The intensified support for Ukraine’s military also comes amid early discussions about sending U.N. peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine, to improve security conditions not only for Ukrainians but for monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe who are on the ground.
The U.S. and other nations were cautiously optimistic when Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to send in peacekeepers. But there are major disagreements about how and where the peacekeepers would operate, especially about whether they’d be deployed only on the “line of conflict” between separatists and the government. The U.S. and Ukraine want peacekeepers deployed throughout the separatist-controlled regions stretching to the Ukraine-Russia border.
The FGM-148 Javelin is an American man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missile fielded to replace the M47 Dragon anti-tank missile in US service.It uses an automatic infrared guidance that allows the user to seek cover immediately after launch, as opposed to wired guided systems, like the Dragon, where the user has to actively guide the weapon throughout the engagement. It is manufactured by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
The Javelin’s High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead is capable of defeating modern tanks by attacking them from above where armor is generally thinner, and is also useful against fortifications in a direct attack flight.
The tandem warhead is fitted with two shaped charges: a precursor warhead to detonate any explosive reactive armor and a primary warhead to penetrate base armor.
It has a range of 4.75 km or around 3 miles.
The State Department, responsible for overseeing foreign military sales, would not confirm that anti-tank missiles or other lethal weapons would be sent. But in a statement late Friday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. had decided to provide “enhanced defensive capabilities” to help Ukraine build its military long-term, defend its sovereignty and “deter further aggression.”
“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,” Nauert said.
The White House’s National Security Council declined to comment.
In thanking the U.S. for its support, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressed the concerns over how the weapons would be used.
“American weapons in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers are not for an offensive, but for a decisive rebuff of the aggressor, the protection of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, as well as for effective self-defense,” he wrote on Facebook. “It is also a trans-Atlantic vaccination against the Russian virus of aggression.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov said the U.S. decision will only make the conflict more deadly and suggested that Russia could be forced to respond. Rybakov said in a statement “U.S is not a mediator. It’s an accomplice in fueling the war,”
The United States, under Obama, also imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion and annexation of Crimea. The Trump administration has insisted those sanctions will stay in place until Moscow gives up the Crimean Peninsula.
Sending lethal weapons to Ukraine creates the troubling possibility that American arms could kill Russian soldiers, a situation that could thrust the two nuclear-armed nations closer to direct confrontation.
Audio by Scott Leffler — scottleffler.com