$400M Javelin tank-killer to Ukraine – but why?
The head of the American diplomatic mission in Kiev said that we are talking about the purchase of weapons for defensive purposes
A senior American diplomat said Ukraine has asked the United States to purchase additional Javelin anti-tank missiles.
The move, which comes amid a four-year conflict between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists, is likely to anger Moscow..
Charge d’Affaires of the United States in Kiev, William Taylor, said in an interview with Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty that Ukraine wants to acquire Javelin missiles as part of the defense foreign sales program of the US Department of Defense. The request came in the context of the ongoing war, in which more than 13 thousand people were killed..
“They would like to buy more Javelin complexes,” the diplomat said..
Taylor’s words are the first confirmation of Ukraine’s intentions to replenish its arsenal of 210 Javelin missiles and 37 launchers, which were delivered to the United States in April 2018..
The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy declined to comment on this request. The Defense Department also has not yet responded to a request for comment..
On July 7, Taylor announced that Ukraine had sent an official request for the purchase of American military equipment for the first time, but neither the diplomat nor the embassy specified which equipment in question..
During the EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev on July 8, Zelenskiy confirmed to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty that his country had sent a purchase request to Washington, but he declined to name the types of weapons and other military equipment he hopes to purchase..
Since 2014, Washington has provided military assistance to Ukraine totaling about $ 1.5 billion. The Pentagon announced in June that it will provide Ukraine with $ 250 million for the purchase of sniper rifles, hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers, anti-artillery radars, night vision systems and other equipment..
The Javelin missile systems delivered to Ukraine last year are supposed to be used in the event of a large-scale escalation of the war, and not for offensive purposes, American and Ukrainian officials said. An additional batch of Javelin missiles will expand Ukraine’s capabilities to defend against a potential attack.
The request for the purchase came on the eve of the expected meeting between Zelensky and US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly expressed interest in strengthening relations with Russia and spoke less about the alliance between Washington and Ukraine..
Zelenskiy told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency last week that the meeting “should take place in September.”.
If the purchase request is approved during the first face-to-face meeting between Zelenskiy and Trump, it will send a powerful signal that Washington is committed to supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression, while allowing Trump, who is wary of free arms transfers, to boast of his conclusion. bilateral agreement.