A U.S.-Ukraine Weapons Deal Has Russia Up in Arms

Jan 10, 2018 | 22:37 GMT

Ukrainian gunners participate in a drill near Kiev in late 2017.

Ukrainian gunners take part in a military drill on the shooting range not far from the small city of Divychky, some 80 km from Kiev on October 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)



  • Considering its long-standing opposition to the move, Moscow will probably respond in one way or another to the United States' recent decision to send lethal weapons to Ukraine.
  • Beefing up the separatist forces' arsenal to ensure their capabilities match those of Ukrainian fighters may be Russia's best bet for retaliating without damaging relations with the United States too much.
  • Russia could also opt to defer a response for now in favor of diplomacy, but it will fire back as it sees fit if the United States or the European Union increases sanctions against it or makes a move it considers aggressive.

Since the war in Ukraine began in 2014, the United States has considered sending arms to the country. Now Washington is ready to follow through with the idea. U.S. President Donald Trump approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine on Dec. 22, signing a $47 million deal that includes 35 FGM-148 Javelin command launch units and 210 anti-tank missiles, along with smaller arms. Wary of provoking Russia, the United States has been careful to frame the recent decision as a purely defensive measure, and not a means to encourage military action against separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. But Moscow, viewing the move as an act of escalation, doubtless will respond in one way or another....

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