The United States is considering providing the Ukrainian military with more advanced weaponry intended for defensive use against the Russians and Russian-backed separatists.
The announcement was made by U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who said in a TV interview that the weapons would be to maintain the status quo, and that if Russia has no desire to continue offensive actions in Ukraine, they should not be concerned with any new weapons in the hands of Ukrainians.
As it stands, the Trump administration is reviewing the Obama-era policies of providing lethal arms to the Ukrainians.
Volker maintains that arming the Ukrainians would not “provoke Russia to do more than they are already doing, and it also isn’t going to change any kind of balance that way,”
“I hear these arguments that it’s somehow provocative to Russia or that it’s going to embolden Ukraine to attack. These are just flat out wrong,” he said in an interview with Current Time.
Volker sees defensive weapons as those that would “allow Ukraine to defend itself, and to take out tanks for example,” he said in an interview with the BBC.
He says there are more Russian tanks in Ukraine than in the entirety of Western Europe combined, citing the heavy Russian military presence in the country that the Kremlin continues to deny exists.
Since the beginning of Russia’s interventions in Ukraine, the United States has provided Ukraine with military and logistical support just short of lethal aid. American soldiers have been deployed to Ukraine since the 2014 annexation of Crimea and subsequent Russian-backed ‘uprising’ in the Donbass in order to train Ukrainian conventional and Special Operations Forces. Other aid has included millions of dollars in radar equipment, night vision devices, radios, body armor, and a host of other non-military economic measures designed to help the country recover from the devastating conflict in the east that has already killed more than 10,000 people.
Image courtesy of US Special Operations Command Europe