Saturday, January 28

US Approves Transfer of Arms from Country to Ukraine Allies

(CNN) — The State Department told Congress that it has approved export licenses for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which will allow countries to transfer arms from the United States to Ukraine, according to an administration official, a State Department official and a congressional aide familiar with the matter.

This move comes after the Biden administration warned that Russia could invade Ukraine at any time. And after Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated that the Kremlin plans to send more troops to the border with Ukraine.

The approvals — which have come in recent days — are a sign that the United States is seeking to inflict a higher cost on Russian President Vladimir Putin if it carries out an invasion. Biden said Wednesday that he hopes Putin “will move” because “he has to do something.”

What weapons will they be?

The kits include much-sought U.S. anti-aircraft weapon systems from Latvia and Lithuania that would help Ukraine fend off Russian planes and that some officials and experts say would pave the way in the early stages of a Russian invasion. Estonia received approval to transfer Javelin anti-tank guided missile systems, which the United States has provided to Ukraine in the past.

It is unclear when the weapons will arrive in Ukraine, the senior administration official said, adding that for now, as well as the price for Ukraine, it would depend on the countries that received approval.

The Biden administration is also working to transfer five Russian-made helicopters to Ukrainian control, the same official said. A notification was sent to Congress for the Mi-17 helicopters already in Ukraine for maintenance after being taken out of Afghanistan during the withdrawal there.

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Supporting Ukraine with US weapons

The State Department cited close coordination with European countries and Ukraine, when asked about the transfer of export licenses.

Does Russia have an unwillingness to reduce tension with Ukraine? 2:51

“European allies have what they need to advance additional security assistance to Ukraine in the coming days and weeks,” a State Department spokesman said. “We are in close contact with our Ukrainian partners and our NATO allies on this. In addition to using all security cooperation tools available to us, including expediting authorized transfers of US-sourced equipment from other allies and partners to through our third-party transfer process and surplus defense articles from Department of Defense inventories, among other mechanisms.”

Earlier this week, Blinken visited Ukraine. At the meeting, officials from that country thanked him for the security assistance from the United States. However, Kiev have also routinely sought additional military support.

The tension on the Ukrainian border

In late December, the Biden administration quietly approved an additional $200 million in security assistance for Ukraine. which authorized the shipment of defensive equipment including small arms and ammunition, four people familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN at the time.

However, after several diplomatic meetings between US, NATO, European and Russian officials ended last week without any significant breakthrough, Washington began weighing more military support for Ukraine, amid more warning signs. that Russia was preparing for an invasion. Biden ruled out sending US combat troops to Ukraine to defend the country from a Russian invasion.

Biden asks Putin to reduce tensions with Ukraine 5:17
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Russia has amassed around 100,000 troops on the border it shares with Ukraine, which Blinken said on Wednesday Moscow could double in a “relatively short time.” Russia also plans to hold joint military exercises with Kremlin ally Belarus. Raising further concerns in Ukraine that a potential new front line has emerged along its northern border.

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