Washington promises to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine
February 2, 2021
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, during a telephone conversation with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, that Washington is ready to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine.
“Anthony Blinken assured Dmytro Kuleba of the readiness of the new U.S. administration to develop strong economic and military support for Ukraine, including the provision of lethal weapons,” reported the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on its website.
In addition, Kuleba stressed the importance of involving the United States in the implementation of the Crimean platform and received assurances of U.S. support for this initiative.
The parties discussed joint efforts to counter hybrid threats and misinformation. Kuleba informed Blinken about the initiative to create an international center in Ukraine to counter disinformation and propaganda and said that Kyiv is ready to share its experience in this area.
In October last year, then-US presidential candidate Joe Biden promised to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine. Later, Blinken also confirmed Biden administration’s intentions to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine.
At the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014, the United States decided not to send weapons to Ukraine. The White House did have a long-running dispute on this issue, but U.S leadership decided that supplying weapons to Ukraine “will push” Russia to escalate the conflict.
In December 2017, The Washington Post reported that Donald Trump’s administration approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine for $41.5 million. Later, U.S. media reported that the total cost of the defense package will be $47 million. The publication BuzzFeed, citing sources in the U.S. government wrote that Trump does not want to give Ukraine weapons for free.
In December 2020, Ukraine signed a contract with the United States for the supply of Javelin anti-tank missile systems. Ukraine received the first shipment of Javelins worth $47 million in the spring of 2018. Then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch said that Ukraine was given these weapons free of charge.
Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker said that the program of military assistance for Ukraine provides for both free weapons and their sales. In the summer of 2019, the U.S. Embassy reported that, for the first time, Ukraine asked the U.S. to sell weapons.