The United States will deliver Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine later this year, according to the Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, but the military support will not stop there.
“There are no grounds for believing that merely sending Javelin missiles shows enough resolve and convince [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to withdraw,” Stephen Blank, a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, wrote in an article for The Second Line of Defense.
The FGM-148 Javelin is an American-made shoulder-fired anti-tank guided missile that uses a “fire-and-forget” medium-range missile system. The system can be installed on tracked, wheeled, or amphibious vehicles, as well as being used as a portable weapon used by ground personnel.
Since 2015, the US has provided Ukraine with €615 million in nonlethal aid, including Humvees, night-vision equipment, and short-range radar systems, the latter of which have been used by the Ukrainian armed forces to track pro-Russian separatists’ artillery movements in the country’s war-torn eastern Donbass region.
US Sen. John McCain and administration officials have repeatedly urged Donald Trump to include lethal weaponry in Washington’s military assistance programme to Kiev ever since the two government began a closer cooperation in the wake of Russia’s internationally unrecognised annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine.
Nearly 11,000 people have been killed in Ukraine since the fighting began nearly four years ago. In February 2014, Putin had Russian forces seize the strategic Crimea Peninsula in the Black Sea and later militarily supported separatist groups in the country’s east as a major war erupted between the pro-European government in Kiev and militants supporting Russia in the impoverished Donbass region.
Ukraine has floated the offer of logistics support to NATO through the use of Kiev’s massive fleet of military transports to help rapidly deploy NATO forces from Western and Central Europe to Poland, the Baltic States, or the Balkans, in exchange for more lethal aid.