The US has approved plans to have private arms companies provide lethal weapons to Ukraine to aid its fight against Russia-backed separatists.
Congress approved such a plan in 2014 during the Obama administration called the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, but the White House did not approve large commercial or government sales at the time.
That move was basically seen as a way to not show overt support against Russia by providing lethal weapons to Ukraine. Trump’s decision is now being lauded by senior Republican senators like Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, because it effectively lifts the Obama-era restrictions.
Trump has essentially crossed the line into lethal weapon territory, but has also drawn a new line at providing heavier weaponry, such as the Javelin antitank missiles that Ukraine has asked for.
Critics of Trump’s decision maintain that the move will further strain an already-tense relationship between the United States and Putin’s Russia.
Trump is already faced with questions around whether he’s hesitant about confronting Putin face to face, as was the case in Vietnam when the two leaders discussed Russian involvement in meddling with U.S. elections last year. He certainly seemed to be pandering to the Russian premiere’s whims at the time.
Is this now Trump’s way of cautiously stepping on Putin’s toes without going all out against Russia on the Ukraine issue? More importantly, now that there’s been no political backlash from Russia yet on lethal weapons supply to Ukraine, is Trump going to sanction antitank missile supply as well?
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