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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Report: Trump to approve missile sales to Ukraine

$47 million package could include the sale of 210 anti-tank missiles and 35 launchers, with additional supplies in the future

Ukraine could soon be supplied weapons by the United States. Sergei Grits/AP
Ukraine could soon be supplied weapons by the United States. Sergei Grits/AP

Donald Trump is expected to start supplying the Ukrainian government with anti-tank weapons, given approval by Congress. The US network ABC reports that the American president will put forward a major escalation in the conflict between the country and Russia-aligned forces in the east of the nation.

If the plan is signed off then it will be presented to congress for a 30-day review period before the State Department can implement it. The US-made Javelin system could be part of the deal, which is likely to provoke a strong reaction from Moscow.

A defence package which amounts to $47 million could include the sale of 210 anti-tank missiles and 35 launchers, with additional supplies in the future.

“We have nothing to announce at this time,” National Security Council spokesperson Marc Raimondi told ABC News. This week, the decision by the Trump administration to allow the commercial sale of small arms and light weapons to Ukraine provoked a negative reaction from the Kremlin.

Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the sale “will once again motivate the hotheads” in Ukraine’s parliament, and could “unleash bloodshed again.” The head of the Russian parliament’s defense committee Vladimir Shamanov said it would be a “sophisticated and irresponsible step.”

The State Department said the move to provide weapons was purely for defensive purposes.

Senator John McCain, a frequent critic of the president, said that Mr Trump should approve the sale of anti-tank missiles.

“I urge the president to authorise additional sales of defensive lethal weapons, including anti-tank munitions, and to fully utilise security assistance funds provided by the Congress to enable Ukraine to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Mr McCain said in a statement.

More than 10,000 people have died since fighting began in 2014, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.