Former US commander in Europe: Javelin anti-tank systems will force Russia to reconsider its actions in Ukraine

The Javelins in the Ukrainians’ hands could change how the Russian military perceives the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and force it to revise its behavior, stated the former commander of US ground forces in Europe, (retired) General Ben Hodges, during a briefing of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission).

“I don’t know how the Ukrainians will use them, but I am convinced that the Russians will monitor the location of the Javelins, because it is a very effective system, which could change how someone perceives the situation… From now on the Russians will know that Ukraine has Javelins. This, I believe, will force the Russians and separatists to revise their actions,” Hodges remarked.

The retired general emphasized that the presence of Javelins in Ukraine’s arsenal could force the opponent to abandon the tactic of capturing small pieces of Ukrainian territory at favorable moments.

Ben Hodges observed that the US’s decision to arm Ukraine did not invoke the strong reaction in Europe or Russia which had been feared by commentators and the previous US administration.

“Frankly speaking, I was surprised by the absence of a significant reaction to the US’s decision from Russia or from the Europeans. For me this means that US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker has been working very well, in order to guarantee that this decision does not undermine the unity of the alliance,” Hodges emphasized.

In December the US administration announced that it had approved the decision to provide Ukraine with lethal weaponry. US officials also reported that Ukraine would receive Javelin anti-tank missile systems.

  US Weapons for Ukraine, Javelin, Russia