By Marc Bennetts, The Times (UK), 11/23/21
The White House is said to be considering the deployment of military advisers and new weaponry to Ukraine in a move that would probably cross President Putin’s “red lines”.
Air defence systems, such as stinger missiles, as well as Mi-17 helicopters, Javelin anti-tank missiles and mortars are among the military equipment being discussed, CNN reported, citing sources close to the Biden administration.
The Mi-17 is a Russian-made helicopter that the US initially purchased to give to the Afghan army before the Taliban’s takeover in August. The Pentagon is now considering handing them to Ukraine instead.
The United States has provided Kiev with $60 million in military aid since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, including Javelin anti-tank missiles.
There are believed to be serious concerns within the administration, however, that Russia would view a new supply of lethal aid to Ukraine as a serious escalation.
The discussions come after Brigadier Genera Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s defence intelligence agency, warned that Moscow could launch an invasion as early as January.
“We need more [military assistance]. No countries except Ukraine have an open war with Russia,” Budanov told The Military Times website this week. “That’s why we’re sure the US should give us everything we didn’t get before. And right now. It’s the right time for this. Because after, it could be very late.”
Budanov also confirmed for the first time that Ukraine had fired Javelin missiles at Russian-backed forces in the Donbas region, where the Ukrainian army is trying to claw back control of two self-proclaimed republics. Ukraine was barred from bringing the weapons to the front line until last year when Washington gave it permission to use them defensively in the Donbas.
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