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US approved lethal arms sales to Ukraine: Washington Post

By Zhang Penghui (People's Daily Online)    14:17, December 22, 2017

A Ukrainian in a demonstration. (Photo: Reuters)

The Trump administration has approved lethal arms sales with a total value of 41.5 million to Ukraine, the Washington Post reported. Both American and Russian media commented that this may deteriorate the already vulnerable US-Russia relations.

The State Department approved a commercial license for exporting a variety of snipers, ammunition and other varieties, with the total value of 41.5 million, which is the largest U.S. commercial sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine since 2014. The Ukrainian government also asked for antitank missiles. But the US did not approve the request.

On December 21, the US Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan said that the decisions come through the State Department. The Pentagon will mediate on behalf of the State Department as soon as they've formalized their decisions.

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert criticized the Russian Government's “unilaterally withdrawn” from the deconfliction mechanism, the ceasefires to allow civilians in similar situations safe passage. Ms. Nauert also called on Russia to put an end to the attacks in eastern Ukraine.

Canada also followed suit and decided to sell weapons to the Ukraine. Arms sales invited criticism from Russia. According to Tass, Pyotr Ilyichev, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the UN, said the US was pushing Ukraine’s leadership to new military ventures.

It is reported that the Obama administration did not sell lethal weapons to Ukraine, trying to avoid irritating Russia. Currently, the action was actively supported by both high level national security officials in the White House and members of Congress. And Trump himself approved the plan based on the suggestions from both the State Department and the Pentagon. The Washington Post comments that arms sales to Ukraine “may complicate President Trump’s stated ambition to work with the Russian President Vladimir Putin”. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Liang Jun)

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