The US State Department has approved the proposed sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles and launch units to Ukraine in a deal worth about $47 million, the Pentagon announced.
The United States said in December it would provide Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons, an announcement that prompted protests from Russia
“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” the Pentagon said.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that Ukraine had requested 210 Javelin missiles, 37 command launch units, and related hardware. Training, technical assistance, transportation, and other aspects of logistics will be included in the deal, it said.
Officials in Ukraine and the United States had indicated that they were expecting the approval from the State Department. The notice of approval was required by law but does not mean a deal is finalized, the Pentagon said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on February 28 said the first delivery of weapons from the United States was expected in weeks.
“The first delivery of the weapons will take place in several weeks. We are talking about a number of different deliveries, starting with the antisniper devices, because many Ukrainian soldiers were killed by Russian snipers,” Poroshenko said.
He added that other military equipment expected from Washington included tools for electronic warfare, air defense, and other kinds of weapons.
“I cannot give all the details as the data is classified,” Poroshenko added.
Since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukraine and Russia have been at loggerheads over a war in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces that has killed more than 10,000 people in four years.