Trump gives green light to selling lethal arms to Ukraine

Trump gives green light to selling lethal arms to Ukraine

The Trump administration on Wednesday approved the sale of lethal arms to Ukraine's government as the country battles pro-Russian separatists in its eastern provinces.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the administration approved the sale of Model M107A1 sniper systems and associated equipment to the country at a value of $41.5 million. The administration has not yet moved to approve sales of heavier arms requested by Ukraine's government, including Javelin anti-tank missiles.

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The move from the White House is a departure from the Obama administration, which frequently condemned Russian aggression in the Ukraine but refused to approve the sale of arms to the country's Western-aligned government.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCorker: 'I just don't' see path to challenge Trump in 2020 Ex-GOP Sen. Corker: Trump primary would be 'good thing for our country' Pollster says Trump unlikely to face 'significant' primary challenge MORE (R-Tenn.) applauded the Trump administration's decision in a statement to the newspaper.

“I’m pleased the administration approved the sale of defensive lethal arms to Ukraine,” Corker said. “This decision was supported by Congress in legislation that became law three years ago and reflects our country’s longstanding commitment to Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian aggression.”

“We have crossed the Rubicon; this is lethal weapons and I predict more will be coming,” a senior congressional official told The Washington Post.

Earlier this year, Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPentagon reporters left in dark as Iran tensions escalate Trump officials slow-walk president's order to cut off Central American aid: report Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Trump nominates Shanahan as Pentagon chief | House panel advances bill to block military funds for border wall | Trump defends Bolton despite differences MORE dismissed criticism that arming Ukraine could be seen as provocative when asked about the Trump administration reviewing the decision.

“Defensive weapons are not provocative unless you're an aggressor, and clearly, Ukraine is not an aggressor, since it's their own territory where the fighting is happening,” he said in August.