In an interview with the Guardian, former ambassador to Nato Kurt Volker tells that Washington is ready to expand arms supplies to Ukraine in order to build up the country’s naval and air defense forces in the face of continuing Russian support for eastern separatists, according to the US special envoy for Ukraine.
Kurt Volker also made clear that the Trump administration was “absolutely” prepared to go further in supplying lethal weaponry to Ukrainian forces than the anti-tank missiles it delivered in April.
“They are losing soldiers every week defending their own country,” said Volker, a former US ambassador to Nato. “And so in that context it’s natural for Ukraine to build up its military, engage in self-defense, and it’s natural to seek assistance and is natural that other countries should help them. And of course they need lethal assistance because they’re being shot at.”
In May, Congress approved $250m in military assistance to Ukraine in 2019, including lethal weaponry. Congress had voted for military support on a similar scale in the past but was blocked by the Obama administration, fearful of triggering a matching escalation from Moscow.
Earlier, the United States had already handed over a batch of ambulance, remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles, AN/TPQ-49 lightweight counter mortar radar systems, AN/TPQ-36 firefinder weapon locating systems and Javelin ATGMs.
The United States is one of Kyiv’s staunchest supporters since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent outbreak of fighting in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region that has killed more than 10,000 people.