US Reportedly Mulling Lethal Aid Package for Ukraine Amid Invasion Concerns
01:34 GMT 23.11.2021 (Updated: 13:26 GMT 06.08.2022)
© AP Photo / Pavlo PalamarchukSoldiers take part in an exercise at the Yavoriv military training ground, close to Lvov, Western Ukraine, Friday, Sept 24, 2021. Ukraine, the US, and other NATO countries continue joint military drills in Western Ukraine presenting offensive exercises in town-like surroundings with tanks and other military vehicles involved.
© AP Photo / Pavlo Palamarchuk
On Monday, the Kremlin accused Bloomberg and other US media of being involved in a "targeted information campaign" after the outlet reported that the US had shared intel with NATO allies that included a map outlining an alleged "buildup" of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. Moscow has rejected claims of a planned invasion of Ukraine.
The administration of US President Joe Biden is considering the deployment of military advisers and ship military equipment - including weaponry - to Ukraine amid a purported buildup of Russian forces along the border, according to a new report from CNN.
Citing sources familiar with the deliberations, the outlet detailed that such a package could possibly include shipments of US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles, anti-armor missiles, and/or mortars.
Retired Lt. Col. Cedric Leighton, a US veteran with 26 years of military intelligence experience, told the outlet that while the Javelin anti-tank missiles "are quite effective against the T-80 tanks, which the Russians are actually employing in these efforts against Ukraine right now," the issuance of a lethal aid package would undoubtedly risk "further heightening tensions" between Washington and Moscow.
Sources said air defense systems, like man-portable FIM-92 Stinger missiles, are also under consideration.
The US Department of Defense has also been pushing to send Ukraine equipment previously used for US-led operations in Afghanistan, such as the Soviet-designed Mi-17 military helicopter.
As for the deployment of military advisers, it remains unclear whether those who could be sent to the region would actually be deployed to Ukraine, the sources told CNN.
During a Monday briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reiterated Washington's call for Moscow to "de-escalate tensions."
"We’ve had extensive interactions with our European allies and partners in recent weeks, including with Ukraine," Psaki said. "We’ve discussed our concerns about Russian military activities and harsh rhetoric towards Ukraine."
Washington has also spoken with Moscow officials regarding both Ukraine and US-Russian relations, she said.
However, no details were provided about the reported package to Kiev. "I don't have anything to preview for you on that," Psaki noted.
Scholars: US & EU Using 'Ukraine Invasion' Story to Divert Attention From Growing Domestic Problems
22 November 2021, 20:36 GMT
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin panned reports of Russia planning an attack on its neighbor, characterizing them as "alarmist." More recently, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asserted that speculation surrounding Ukraine will arise, "one way or another," in the next meeting between Putin and his American counterpart.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out on Monday that Moscow is being subjected to a "targeted information campaign" that is increasing tensions in the area.
"Kiev itself is building up its forces, Kiev is being helped to build up its forces. Kiev is supplied with a significant amount of weapons, including modern, high-tech weapons," Peskov said.
"And all this, of course, we are watching with great concern, knowing the significant influence of extremist politicians in Ukraine."