CNN reported on Monday that the Biden administration is weighing sending military advisors and additional weapons to Ukraine, a move that Russia would view as a major escalation.
Citing people “familiar with the matter,” the CNN report said the US weapons package could include new Javelin anti-tank missiles, mortars, and stinger missiles. The Biden administration is also considering sending military aid that would have gone to Afghanistan, including Russian-made M-17 helicopters.
Since 2014, after the US supported a coup in Ukraine, Washington has supplied Kyiv with over $2 billion in military aid. US and NATO military activity has also significantly increased in the region.
The report comes amid claims from the US that Russia is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine based on a purported Russian troop build-up near the border with Ukraine. For their part, Moscow strongly denies it is planning an attack and has pointed to the increase in US and NATO activity in the region and support for Ukraine as the source of tensions in the region.
On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said if the US sent more weapons and military advisors to Ukraine, it would only fuel tensions in the region. Peskov was also not surprised by the report and said such support for Ukraine was already “taking place.”
“Military advisers are arriving there, weapons are supplied there — not only from the United States but also from other NATO countries. And all this, of course, leads to a further aggravation of the situation on the border line,” he said.
Sources also told CNN that US officials have been holding discussions with European allies over the possibility of implementing new sanctions against Russia over the alleged troop build-up.