NSC to present Trump $47M deal to arm Ukraine against Russia

NSC to present Trump $47M deal to arm Ukraine against Russia
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President Trump will be presented with a plan from senior aides to finance and sell weapons to Ukraine in an effort to counter Russian aggression in the region, ABC News reported Saturday.

A State Department source told ABC that the National Security Council decided Tuesday to approve the presentation of a $47 million grant package that would supply Ukraine with high-tech defensive weaponry including Javelin anti-tank missiles. The president and Congress must approve such a sale.

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"We have no announcement at this time," a spokesman for the NSC told ABC.

Ukranian officials said last month that they are pleased with the "acceleration" of improving relations between the United States and Ukraine following a 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, a region previously controlled by Ukraine.

"We are really satisfied with the acceleration of U.S.-Ukraine relations at the moment," one member of Ukraine's parliament said in October.

The administration's move this week follows comments from Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisLawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Trump called top military brass 'a bunch of dopes and babies' in 2017: book MORE in Ukraine in August. There, Mattis pledged to review U.S. military aid to the country.

"This permits me, better informed, to go back and advocate for what I believe you need, as brought to me by your minister of defense and, certainly, your president," Mattis said in August. "For example, we've just approved - just very recently, last couple of weeks - another $175 million worth of equipment, including some specialized equipment that can be used to help defend the country, bringing to a total of nearly $750 million in the last several years."

Mattis also said at the time that U.S. military leadership is reviewing the American position on providing defensive lethal weapons.

"I would also point out that, on the defensive lethal weapons ... we are actively reviewing it," Mattis said. "I will go back, now, having seen the current situation, and be able to inform the secretary of State and the president in very specific terms what I recommend for the direction ahead."