US President Donald Trump is expected to announce his approval of a plan to sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government.
Four State Department sources told ABC News, that the sale of weapons to the neo-nazi putsch in Ukraine would mark a significant escalation in lethal U.S. military support for Ukrainian forces fighting Eastern Ukraine armies.
Behind the push to get Trump to “green light” the sale of weapons to the Ukraine neo-nazi government is none other than John McCain.
ABC News reports that after the announcement of the sale of smaller lethal weapons, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that Trump should take the next step and approve approval the sale of anti-tank missiles.
“I urge the President to authorize additional sales of defensive lethal weapons, including anti-tank munitions, and to fully utilize security assistance funds provided by the Congress to enable Ukraine to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” McCain said in a statement.
Of course the sale of weapons to a government infested with ultra right nationalists and proud neo-nazis should infuriate the liberal left, but when it comes to war, the liberal left and conservative right seem to always forget identity politics, and march in lockstep towards the next US foreign policy nightmare.
As The Duran reported last week, Trump did away with Obama’s ban on the sale of “lethal weapons” to the neo-nazi putsch in Ukraine, which was still taking place, but in diluted numbers and in covert deals.
Trump has now “opened the floodgates” for overt multi-national weapons exports to Ukraine, meaning big business for the US military industrial complex and their warmonger hawk tools in congress.
Trump’s lift on Obama’s weapons ban coincides with his signature tax bill, which passed the Senate and House, which likely means Congress and the Deep State allowed Trump the domestic win if he would allow them the war they have been craving for years.
ABC News reports…
If the president formally signs off, the plan will be presented to Congress for a 30-day review period where it would need to be approved before the State Departmentcan implement it.
The sale of anti-tank missiles, which could possibly include the U.S.-made Javelin system, provoked a strong reaction from Russia on Saturday, saying it “crossed the line,” and could threaten to derail Trump’s calls for better relations with Moscow.
The total defense package of $47 million includes the sale of 210 anti-tank missiles and 35 launchers. Additional supplies will need to be purchased, according to a senior State Department official.
“We have nothing to announce at this time,” National Security Council spokesperson Marc Raimondi told ABC News.
In a statement, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told ABC News: “The United States has decided to provide Ukraine enhanced defensive capabilities as part of our effort to help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity, to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to deter further aggression. U.S. assistance is entirely defensive in nature, and as we have always said, Ukraine is a sovereign country and has a right to defend itself. The United States remains committed to the Minsk agreements as the way forward in eastern Ukraine. We have no further comment, at this time.”
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, responded harshly to the news of the pending deal in a statement on Saturday.
“The United States in a certain sense crossed the line, announcing the intention to transfer weapons of direct damaging action to Ukraine,” the statement said, translated from Russian. “American weapons can lead to new victims in our neighboring country, to which we cannot remain indifferent.”
Earlier this week, the Kremlin condemned Trump’s approval to allow the commercial sale of small arms and light weapons to Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that sale “will once again motivate the hotheads” in the Ukrainian government and “unleash bloodshed again.” The head of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, Vladimir Shamanov, also condemned it as a “sophisticated and irresponsible step.”
A State Department source stressed that the move to supply even more powerful anti-tank missile is purely for defensive purposes.
ABC News first reported that the inter-agency memo has been sitting on the president’s desk for weeks.
If Trump announces his approval, the memo will likely make its way to Capitol Hill. Congress has 30 days to approve the measure. There is broad support by Senate Republicans.
Zerohedge reports that congressional hawks have long sought greater direct military escalation in the Ukrainian proxy war.
But it appears that Trump is now falling into the hands of Washington’s usual warmongers and the national security deep state which always seems to eventually get its way. McCain issued a statement this week pushing for inclusion of anti-tank missiles in the earlier reported package: “I urge the President to authorize additional sales of defensive lethal weapons, including anti-tank munitions, and to fully utilize security assistance funds provided by the Congress to enable Ukraine to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” McCain said.
Not to be outdone, Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) – the only congressman who can possibly “out-hawk” John McCain – said of the new initiative for arms exports to Ukraine: “This is a break from failed Obama era policies to make Russia pay a cost for its aggression. With this decision, the Trump administration is reminding Vladimir Putin and his cronies that they lost the Cold War, and we won’t tolerate their bullying of our friend Ukraine.”
Is this a deep state victory? The Washington Post previously described that “the decision over whether to allow lethal arms sales to Ukraine had been sitting on Trump’s desk for months” even after The National Security Council presented the president with various options for moving forward “months ago”. But concerning the impetus behind internal White House deliberations to move on the issue, the Washington Post reported:
“Another senior Trump administration official said that Trump personally approved the decision to allow the issuing of the license after being presented a decision memo by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. While there was never a formal ban on such weapons transfers, the decision was discussed internally as a lifting of the de facto Obama administration restrictions, the official said.”
Congressional anti-Russia hawks have long sought greater long-term military engagement along Russia’s European border, especially after the May 2014 referendum which saw the pro-Russian Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk declare independence from Kiev. And though Congress originally authorized weapons sales via the Ukraine Freedom Support Act signed into law in December 2014, the Obama administration never made the decision to actually follow through on the legislation.
But after years of covert American involvement in the Ukrainian proxy and civil war which has raged since 2014 – and which a leaked recording confirmed was precipitated by the US State Department – it appears that hawks like McCain, Cotton, and Corker are finally getting their way.
Perhaps more scary in terms of escalating an unnecessary war which has already taken more than 10,000 lives since 2014, the Kiev government and some in Washington are already pushing for putting anti-aircraft weapons in the hands of Ukrainian forces.
“What we are awaiting and have called for is the provision of lethal defense weapons that are more advanced – a larger package that is under consideration right now, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles,” a Ukrainian official told ABC News. “We are expecting this decision and would welcome it.”
And as multiple reports have noted this week, fighting in eastern Ukraine is heating up after a period of relative stalemate and calm, and after general Western media silence on the war. Likely with the announcement of US supplied anti-tank missiles and the additional possibility of US anti-aircraft weapons being openly shipped into the conflict, it will most certainly return to the international and media spotlight.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.