Trump approves first U.S. government supply of lethal defensive weapons for Ukraine

2017/12/13 20:12:22

A statement by U.S. Senator Rob Portman, founder of the Ukraine Senate Caucus says in part: “These additions reflect the Ukrainian military’s most pressing needs that have not been covered under previous authorizations, such as anti-tank weapons, secure communications and counter-artillery radar.”

 

Photo: Troops from the United States and Ukraine kick-off 2015 joint training exercises intended to help bolster Ukraine’s defenses against incursions from Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas.  File photo

 


WASHINGTON, Dec 13, 2017 - U.S. President Donald Trump signed on Dec. 12 the U.S. defense budget, which includes the first supply of lethal, defensive weapons as part of USD 350 mln in military aid earmarked for Ukraine, as reported by Voice of America. It also authorized for the first time assistance to bolster Ukraine’s naval capabilities, which were severely degraded following Russia’s seizure of Crimea.

 

The specific weapons to be disbursed include air and coastal defense radars, naval mine and counter-mine capabilities, and littoral and coastal defense craft, said a statement by U.S. Senator Rob Portman and founder of the Ukraine Senate Caucus. “These additions reflect the Ukrainian military’s most pressing needs that have not been covered under previous authorizations, such as anti-tank weapons, secure communications and counter-artillery radar,” the statement said.

 

The funds will also be used to transport Ukrainian soldiers to U.S. hospitals and pay for their rehabilitation, teach Ukrainian medics rehabilitation methods, as well as “improving the capabilities of our country’s air and naval forces,” Voice of America said, citing the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington.

 

Zenon Zawada: All the hysteria generated by the Western establishment media, as well as the Ukrainian mass media, about a Trump presidency being the end of U.S. support for Ukraine has proven hollow. Not only has Trump maintained all the measures imposed by his predecessor against Russia, but he has approved the expansion of sanctions, as well as the first lethal defensive weapons that Ukraine had been clamoring for.

 

Reports so far haven’t confirmed whether the much-discussed Javelin anti-tank missiles will be part of the aid offered by the U.S. But Senator Portman’s statement indicates it’s quite possible and it won’t be a precedent. U.S. companies are already supplying the Ukrainian military with armaments.

 

The official introduction of lethal defensive weapons from the U.S. raises the risk of Russia responding with escalated military aggression in Donbas. Although the conventional wisdom in Washington is that Russia will back down in the event of an expensive, escalating arms race, the events of recent years show that the Putin administration will go to extreme lengths to ensure this territory returns to the Russian sphere.

 

Or at minimum, the Russians are committed to ensuring that this territory is never integrated into Euro-Atlantic structures, which they see as a security threat of the highest order. So we don’t see the introduction of lethal, defensive weapons from the U.S. as being conducive for peace, nor in pressuring the Russians to surrender in this conflict.

 

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For more information, link here: www.concorde.ua 

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