Trump expected to sign off on plan to sell anti-tank missiles to Ukraine

Trump expected to sign off on plan to sell anti-tank missiles to Ukraine
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpReturn hope to the Middle East by returning to the Iran Deal Government shutdowns tend to increase government spending 'Full Frontal' gives six-bedroom house to group that works with detained immigrants MORE is expected to authorize the sale of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine's military, possibly including the Javelin missile system, as the country battles pro-Russian separatists in Crimea.

ABC News, citing State Department sources, reported that Trump is expected to formally sign a plan to sell $47 million worth of anti-tank missiles, launchers and related equipment to Ukraine's military. The plan would then head to Congress for a 30-day review period.

The State Department confirmed that the U.S. had decided to provide Ukraine with defensive equipment.

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"The United States has decided to provide Ukraine enhanced defensive capabilities as part of our effort to help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity, to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to deter further aggression," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

"U.S. assistance is entirely defensive in nature, and as we have always said, Ukraine is a sovereign country and has a right to defend itself. The United States remains committed to the Minsk agreements as the way forward in eastern Ukraine."

The Trump administration earlier this week signed off on a sale of lethal arms to Ukraine, a departure from the Obama administration.

The administration approved the sale of Model M107A1 sniper systems and associated equipment to the country on Wednesday at a value of $41.5 million. The move drew swift praise from Russia hawks in Congress, including Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP Sen. Lamar Alexander won't seek reelection Corker dodges on Trump primary question The Hill's 12:30 Report – Cohen says Trump knew payments were wrong | GOP in turmoil over Trump shutdown threat | Kyl to resign from Senate at year's end MORE (R-Tenn.), who had urged the Obama administration to do more about Russian aggression into Ukraine.

“I’m pleased the administration approved the sale of defensive lethal arms to Ukraine,” Corker said of the Trump decision. “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.”

In August, Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPentagon has sent home nearly 3K active-duty border troops Trump risks clash with Congress over Chinese executive Russia claims Pentagon ignoring request to discuss nuclear dispute MORE dismissed criticism that providing lethal weapons to Ukraine could be seen as a provocation in the region.

“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.

The Kremlin, however, condemned Wednesday's move, warning that it “will once again motivate the hotheads” on the Ukrainian side of the conflict and "unleash bloodshed again."

Updated 8:22 p.m.