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US not to give Gray Eagle drones to Ukraine to avoid “escalation” with Russia – WSJ

US not to give Gray Eagle drones to Ukraine to avoid “escalation” with Russia – WSJ

The Biden administration won’t give Ukraine advanced drones despite pleas from Kyiv and a bipartisan group of members of Congress, WSJ reports.

Citing unnamed officials familiar with the matter, WSJ says the Pentagon believes Gray Eagle MQ-1C drones could escalate the conflict and signal to Moscow that the US was providing weapons that could target positions inside Russia. Worries that Russia could gain access to US technology if the drone was shot down were a secondary matter.

Plans of the US to sell these drones capable of flying over 30 hours, gathering huge amounts of intelligence, carrying 8 powerful Hellfire missiles, and thus capable of deep strikes into Russian territory, were first reported by Reuters in June.

Later in June, Reuters reported that the plan hit a snag, as the Pentagon feared their sophisticated equipment would fall into Russian hands.

In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration has held off on approving Ukrainian request for long-range armed drones, concerned that the technology could wind up in Russian hands if captured.

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