'Washington is ready to offer Ukraine “enhanced defensive capabilities,” the US State Department has confirmed, after several US officials said the Trump administration has approved plans to supply Kiev with lethal weapons.
“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, insisting that that American military assistance to Kiev will be “entirely defensive in nature.”
Earlier reports suggested the new level of American support will allow Ukraine to obtain anti-tank missiles, possibly including the US-made portable Javelin system, long-sought by Kiev. The total “defense package” will amount to $47 million and also covers the sale of 210 anti-tank missiles and 35 launchers, ABC reported.
The state department did not specify what kind of weapons Kiev will receive, neither confirming nor denying the reports, but emphasized that Washington “remains committed to the Minsk agreements as the way forward in eastern Ukraine.”
Earlier this week, the Trump administration reportedly approved a $41.5 million package of Model M107A1 sniper systems to Kiev. Russia has criticized the move. The state department pointed out that approving the “commercial export” of lethal arms was “nothing new,” because Washington has repeatedly allowed US arms manufacturers to sell weapons to Kiev “under the previous two administrations.”'
Read more: ‘Entirely defensive in nature’? US greenlights supply of lethal arms to Ukraine
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