The United States is set to send lethal weapons to the Ukrainian government to help it fight separatists who are backed by the Russian government. Officials from the US federal government said that the Trump administration had approved a plan to provide the Ukrainian government with American made weapons. The US State Department which has been charged with the oversight role for foreign military procurement confirmed that Washington would give Kiev more defensive capabilities.
However, the State Department did not dive into further details about the military consignment to Kiev. The move to supply weapons was long anticipated and deepens the involvement of the United States in the military conflict between Ukraine and Russia and is bent to strain the relations between Moscow and Washington further. According to sources from AP, the arsenal comprises of American manufactured Javelin missiles which are meant to neutralize tanks.
Kiev has long sought the anti-tank missiles to neutralize the separatists who are backed by Moscow. The Russian-backed separatists have used tanks supplied by Moscow since 2004 to roll through the eastern part of Ukraine. The conflict is estimated to have had more than 10,000 casualties in the more than one decade of confrontation. The United States government has in the past provided Kiev with the training of their military personnel and support equipment. The US has also allowed private defense contractors sell small weapons to Ukraine such as assault rifles.
On Saturday, a senior official from the Russian government criticized the move by Washington saying that it would worsen an already volatile state of affairs in Eastern Ukraine. The deputy minister of foreign relations in Russia, Grigory Karasin, made a statement to one of the news agencies saying that the US decision will derail the peace process and make it impossible for a settlement between the separatists and Kiev. The scale of fighting on the eastern side of Ukraine has gone down as a result of a peace agreement that was brokered in 2015 by both Germany and France.
However, due to continued clashes in the volatile region, the provisions of the peace agreement have stalled. The move is also likely to become another sour point for the Russia-US relations. Currently, there are ongoing questions in the court of public opinion on whether President Trump is hesitant to contact Moscow about the issue. Kiev has made numerous accusations that the Putin administration is sending tanks and artillery to the separatist’s movement in eastern Ukraine.