- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Trump administration is pressing forward with the sale of advanced anti-tank missiles to Ukrainian forces in the eastern European nation, months after Washington vowed to provide Kiev with defensive weaponry in their ongoing war against pro-Russian separatists.

Officials from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the Pentagon directorate overseeing international arms deals with the U.S., notified Congress Thursday on the proposed sale of the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile. The shoulder-fired weapon is armed with a so-called “fire and forget” guided missile system, designed for use by infantry units.

Ukrainian forces are slated to receive 210 Javelin missiles and 37 command launch units under the terms of the proposed arms sale, an agency statement said. The U.S. will also provide logistics and system support for the weapon systems, coupled with a small team of “basic skill trainers” to advise Ukrainian forces how to use the weapon in combat, according to details of the $47 million deal.

“The Javelin system will help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to meet its national defense requirements. Ukraine will have no difficulty absorbing this system into its armed forces,” agency officials wrote in their congressional notification statement on the Javelin deal.

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance” in Ukraine or in eastern Europe writ large.

Ukraine has repeatedly requested American and allied support against Russian-backed forces since they drove into the eastern half of the country in 2014. As the war has continued to rage, Washington had previously agreed to provide Ukraine with training and equipment, including supplies of small arms such as assault rifles.

• Carlo Muñoz can be reached at cmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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