US “seriously considers” lethal weapons for Ukraine. Will it happen this time?

Photo: ukraineworld.org

Photo: ukraineworld.org 

Ukraine, War in the Donbas

Article by: Vitalii Rybak for UkraineWorld group (ukraineworld.org)

Kurt Volker, the newly appointed US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations additionally confirmed in an interview for Financial Times that the US administration was “seriously considering” whether to change its position and ship deadly weapons to Ukraine. However, the possibility of such development remains unclear.

Provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine by the US has been a hot topic since the very beginning of the war in Donbas. The biggest supporters of Ukraine (for instance, US senator John McCain), have been urging the US President to give Ukraine means to defend itself since spring 2014.

Even though the US administration agreed to provide defensive equipment for Ukrainian army in September 2014, lethal weapons were not on this list. President Obama refused to include weapons in the aid package despite Petro Poroshenko’s plea to the Congress. Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said then that President Obama believed negotiations to be the best way to solve Ukraine crisis.

However, on 9 February 2015 Barack Obama has announced that his administration is studying the option of supplying lethal defensive arms to Ukraine if diplomacy fails to end the crisis in the east. Nevertheless, no decision was made, despite the ongoing support of Congress. The US administration said that it would provide another $75 million in nonlethal aid to Ukraine’s military instead.

The issue of lethal weapons has been ongoing in course of the next few years, as Ukrainian side constantly urged Western partners to provide more substantial assistance. Right now it is on the rise again, as James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defense, stated that the Trump administration is considering the issue of providing Ukraine with defensive lethal weapons once again.

He said this during his visit to Ukraine before country’s Independence Day on 24 August. Hromadske quotes Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko saying that the sides discussed all aspects of cooperation between Ukraine and the US, including “providing Ukraine with advanced defense capabilities, and military and technical cooperation.”  Poroshenko emphasized that this applies to the supply of lethal weapons as well as to the provision and increase of defense capacity. It is worth noting that Mattis spoke strictly about “defensive lethal weapons.”

This development has sparked a discussion in Ukrainian and Western media field. Both the supporters and opponents of such move agree that provision of lethal weapons of any kind would dramatically influence US-Russia relations.

Michael Kofman, Senior Research Scientist at CNA Corporation, writes in his article for The New York Times that the Trump administration’s plan to arm Ukraine is a “serious political decision that could have far-reaching strategic consequences.” He blamed Trump of walking into a proxy war with Russia. “While arming Kyiv may seem like an easy political win, it is poor policy. The idea of providing Ukraine with $50 million-worth of anti-tank missiles is eerily reminiscent of Washington’s halfhearted efforts to train and arm the moderate Syrian opposition,” Kofman writes.

Instead, Alexander Vershbow, Former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, noted in a conversation with Deutsche Welle that transfer of lethal defensive weapons in order to give Ukraine the means to defend itself would give more support to ambassador Kurt Volker in his efforts to achieve a negotiated solution with Russia. In his opinion, this would be a good response to the continued stalemate in Donbas war. “These weapons are not meant to enable Ukraine to fight to a military victory. They are leveling the playing field to improve the chances for a negotiated solution in accordance with the Minsk agreements,” Vershbow claimed.

Kurt Volker himself underlined in the abovementioned interview for Financial Times that Russia should “make some fundamental decisions on whether or not to adjust to the Minsk agreements.” In addition, he dashed hopes that Moscow should harbour for rapprochement below Donald Trump’s presidency. “The relationship between Russia and the US is important, and it’s going to be crippled by this problem in Ukraine,” he argued.

This indicates that the chances lethal weapons will be provided to Ukraine this time are definitely higher than before. Such development could be a game changer able to boost or undermine the Minsk process which has been dragging for a long time now.

It is also worth noting that US-Ukraine relations might not reach the highest point if lethal weapons were provided. Ukraine considers NATO membership as a goal to achieve — President Poroshenko reminds about that at any convenience. In this sense, provision of lethal weapons, if it happens, could be also a step forward in the rapprochement with the Alliance.

 

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  • Scradje

    Give them whatever they want x 2. Right away.

    • Sania

      crudje, right in hole
      That’s will be right.

    • veth

      Putin today:if Ukraine gets Javelins, I have no choice but to invade more of Ukraine!!!!

  • Kruton

    Javelin!

  • Kruton

    Rifled mortars!

    • zorbatheturk

      Ninja throwing stars.

  • Kruton

    AT-4,s

  • Kruton

    Carl Gustav rocket launchers!

  • Steve

    As a note on the photos in this article neither Ukrainian Soldier has a magazine inserted into the magazine well. The bolt is closed home with the dust cover open.

    Now to answer the articles premise. I have NO issue with arming the average Ukrainian Soldier. But NOT UNTIL the following conditions are meet given the corruption in the upper echelons of the Ukrainian Military, Ukroboronprom, and the Defense Ministry:

    1. ALL weapons provided are tracked by a NON Ukrainian WESTERN auditing agency to ensure the weapons technology does not end up on the Black Market, sold/compromised to Russia or the Terrorists known as Separatists. ALL weapons carry a Geo Locating Device on them. Missing one Geo device…NO Weapons.

    2. These audits are done on a regular monthly basis AND AT AN UNANNOUNCED basis, i.e., Ukraine does not know when the inspections are coming or by whom.

    3. NO ONE person will be able to inspect ANY weapons cache/supply/storage more than one in any 12 months ensuring fresh inspectors every single month reducing compromising the inspection process. ALL inspections will be done by a minimum of two people TOGETHER inspecting the same items and SIGNING their full names and VERIFIED addresses. Just like NATO does when it checks its facilities.

    4. ANY, ANY, ANY violation no matter how small results in the termination of weapons delivery and the RECALL of all delivered weapons. Why? Because Ukraine is still very corrupt at the management and ALL government levels.

    • Murf

      I think those are very wise measures.
      I would recommend that they be stored at a secure facility well away from the front so a quit strike doesn’t take them out. For instance at the NATO training facility in Liviv. or in Dniper.
      Also the auditing team include Ukrainians personnel to help prevent miscommunication issues of what was side and done as well as video recordings.

      As you said this is no more than would be done at any NATO secure facility.

    • veth

      Putin today:if Ukraine gets Javelins, I have no choice but to invade more of Ukraine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • veth
  • veth

    Over half tonne of gold stolen by Yanukovych’s “family” seized abroad The law enforcers have arrested more than half a tonne of gold, which was stolen and exported from Ukraine by the associates of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, according to Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yevhen Yenin, Іnsider reported.

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/politics/2114104-over-half-tonne-of-gold-stolen-by-yanukovychs-family-seized-abroad.html

  • veth

    SBU caught 18 Russian spies in Kharkiv in August
    The head of the Security Service of Ukraine, SBU, Vasyl Hrytsak, said in August 18 Russian spies were caught in Kharkiv alone, Tyzhden reports Sept. 4.

    “On Aug. 17, SBU arrested 18 persons suspected of belonging to the Russian spy network. They were involved in terrorist/intelligence operations in Ukraine,” Hrytsak said.

    The center controlling the operations of the network is located in Belgorod, Russia, the SBU chief said. Читайте більше тут: http://zik.ua/en/news/2017/09/04/sbu_caught_18_russian_spies_in_kharkiv_in_august_1161313

  • veth
  • veth
  • Ihor Dawydiak

    As any efficient law enforcement official would know, to properly combat or deal with a criminal, one must be able to think like that criminal and then adjust strategies accordingly in order to neutralize or overwhelm the said criminal. The same could be said of dealing with Putin the Pederast and his horde of hyenas except for the fact that they are on a much grander scale. This was also where the Obama Administration had failed. Their greatest fear was escalation and it was their hope that Putin would respond to peaceful and moral measures but the Russian dictator was neither peaceful nor did he have an ounce of morality. However, he did have his limits and as in the case with any pederast he was also a coward. All that Putin wanted to achieve was to find out how much he could get away with and if confronted, he would slink back into the shadows of the swamps of Muscovy (KGB style). So what would happen if the US were to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons? Would Russia’s “wannabe” Kublai Khan launch an all out invasion of Ukraine knowing full well that such an action could very easily and quickly propel his Administration into full blown bankruptcy? In fact, could Russia’s foremost ferret even afford an escalation? Not a chance! Then what about actual and meaningful negotiations? Would this probability not appear more realistic than the failed measures attempted in the past?

    • Czech Mate

      Exactly! Plus we have seen his bluff called with Erdy the Turkish dictator shooting down his russky junk from the sky. What happened after that so many had been fearing?

      Not a step forward from the dwarf, zero, zilch! And yet foks still eat up his BS today?! Just pathetic.

    • veth

      Putin; if Ukraine gets Javelins, I have no choice but to invade more of Ukraine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • zorbatheturk

    Develop a giant lethal bionic owl that can swoop out of nowhere and take out the head rodent in the Krumlin, Vladimir Putin. Owls hunt rodents by night, and are usually successful at the task.

  • Czech Mate

    Just. Do. It.