Pentagon: US has not changed its position on weapons for Ukraine
The current US administration has not changed its position regarding the possibility of transferring weapons to Kyiv, and at present there are no such shipments. This was announced by Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a spokesperson for the US Defense Ministry, at a press briefing for foreign reporters.
“I can tell you that there have been no changes in our policy,” the Pentagon’s representative stressed. In this regard he also said that “of course, at any specific moment in time there is internal discussion of all kinds of matters, including Ukraine,” and that senior officials of the US Defense Ministry are giving the White House their recommendations, but this is taking place internally.
“That’s why I am not able to tell you at present what to expect ahead with respect to Ukraine. But it’s clear that since 2014 we have been involved in transferring [to Kyiv] various [military] products, in order to help Ukraine in a non-lethal way: equipment for its forces, powerful assistance from instructors, in order to help with the implementation of defense reforms,” Davis said.
He mentioned that US Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during the latter’s recent visit to Washington in July. “They spoke about Ukraine’s defense requirements,” Davis affirmed. “[However,] we have had no changes in policy which can be announced,” the Pentagon’s spokesperson reiterated.
Davis was asked to comment on the recent ambiguous statements by General Paul Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Speaking on July 18 at hearings of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, the general affirmed that the US administration is currently dealing with the political matter not of whether to ship weapons to the Ukrainian authorities, but of what kinds and quantities to ship.
Nevertheless, from other statements made by the general at the hearings it effectively follows that in the US administration the question of shipping weapons to Ukraine remains open.
The National Security Council (NSC) of the White House did not give a distinct response to a question on whether Selva’s statements should be understood to imply that the US government has already made the fundamental decision to ship weapons to Kyiv and is now only determining what types of such aid and in what quantities it should be sent to Ukraine. The NSC suggested that Selva himself should be approached and asked to explain his own statements.