Poroshenko and Mattis discuss shipments of defensive weapons to Ukraine
On August 24 President Petro Poroshenko and US Secretary of Defense James Mattis held discussions in Kyiv, during which they discussed the matter of reinforcing Ukraine’s defensive capabilities, Poroshenko told reporters.
“We continued discussing the matter of defensive aid for Ukraine and enhancing the existing level of military collaboration. I expressed gratitude to our partners, first and foremost for the effective military aid which we have had since the first moments of aggression. We are very satisfied with the collaboration and the training of Ukrainian specialists, advisors’ aid in reforming the security and defense sector. We agreed to expand this collaboration and transfer it to an operational level,” Poroshenko said.
The President did not want to comment on specific arrangements regarding the shipment of lethal weaponry.
“Even during my visit we actually agreed that we will have very active dialogue on ensuring Ukraine’s defensive capabilities. This concerns not only the shipment of lethal weaponry, but also the provision and expansion of defensive capabilities, including means of radio-electronic warfare, means which improve the effectiveness of the action of our armed forces in defense. And I can say that negotiating these matters before making the final decision requires silence. Today I would not like to comment on these matters, but I can say that as president of Ukraine, I am satisfied with the talks and our discussions. The progress in this area satisfies me as president,” he said.
Mattis, in turn, announced that after returning to Washington, he would suggest specific projects in this regard to the US leadership. “On the defensive lethal weapons, we are actively reviewing it. I will go back, now having seen the current situation, and be able to inform the secretary of state and the president in very specific terms what I recommend for the direction ahead,” Mattis said.
The US Secretary of defense emphasized that defensive weapons can provoke only the aggressor, which Ukraine is not.
In July The Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon was working on a plan to provide Ukraine with weapons, and was waiting for affirmation from President Trump. For a long time, Ukraine has wanted to acquire Javelin anti-tank missile systems, in order to effectively combat Russian-produced armored vehicles.
At the start of August the US Ministry of Defense sent the White House a proposal to provide a new aid packet worth $50 million, which would entail sending Javelin anti-tank systems to Ukraine.