With Ukrainian officials continuing to talk up their hostility with neighboring Russia, the Pentagon announced on Thursday that approval has been granted for the sale of Javelin anti-tank systems to Ukraine.
The sale, estimated at a $47 million deal for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, would involve 37 Javelin Command Launch Units and 210 missiles. The Poroshenko government says it will be used to “protect Ukrainian soldiers.”
Russia is protesting the sale, however, arguing that the sale of the missiles would encourage Ukraine to resume the use of force against Eastern Ukraine’s ethnic Russian rebels, with the idea that they would deploy the missiles against any rebel tanks, and also against any Russian tanks that might join the fight.
Pentagon officials downplayed the issue, saying they don’t believe the Javelin missiles will materially change the military balance of power in the region. Despite obvious offensive uses for such missiles, the US is trying to spin this as another “defensive” sale to Ukraine.