WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has approved a plan to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, US officials said Friday, in a long-awaited move that deepens America's involvement in the military conflict and may further strain relations with Russia.
The new arms include American-made Javelin anti-tank missiles that Ukraine has long sought to boost its defenses against Russian-backed separatists armed with tanks that have rolled through eastern Ukraine during violence that has killed more than 10,000 since 2014. Previously, the US has provided Ukraine with support equipment and training, and has let private companies sell some small arms like rifles.
The move is likely to become another sore point between Washington and Moscow, as President Donald Trump contends with ongoing questions about whether he's too hesitant to confront the Kremlin. Ukraine accuses Russia of sending the tanks, and the US says Moscow is arming, training and fighting alongside the separatists.