US Department of Defense and Department of State officially recommend the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine
A decision on the provision of lethal weapons support to Ukraine is now at the White House. Joseph Dunford, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, announced this during a Senate hearing, reports Radio Liberty. At the same time, he did not name a deadline for the adoption of the decision by the White House.
“The US Department of Defense and State Department have officially recommended the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine,” noted Senator Roger Wicker during the hearing, asking General Dunford about the justification for such a recommendation.
“In my judgment, from the military perspective, Ukraine needed additional capabilities to protect their sovereignty,” answered General Dunford.
He stressed that in 2016, the US “trained a number of their (Ukrainian) battalions, and in 2017 we trained additional battalions…. We have provided medical supplies, night vision goggles, counter mortar radar and other things.”
“We felt [that the] ability to stop armored vehicles would be essential for them to protect themselves. We just looked at it as a military gap that existed, that if that gap was filled, it would increase the probability the Ukrainians could defend themselves”, noted the general.
Senator Roger Wicker called for the administration to take a step in this direction.
The Senator also noted the necessity of strengthening the capacity of an American base in Italy that looks into hybrid warfare, which Russia conducts.
“We are striving to make this base more competitive," the general replied, outlining plans for strengthening military capabilities "so that a force designed for a conventional war…[will be] competitive in the case we are describing now.”
"The Russians have so successfully integrated information operations, cyber, political influence, economic coercion and information operations," the general said.
"Russians, Chinese and others are…conducting adversarial competition at a level that falls below conflict. And they have integrated the entire government to be able to do that. In my judgment, we need to improve our ability to compete in that space," Dunford said. “[Looking at it] from the military capability, that would be our electronic warfare capabilities, our cyber capabilities and information operations capability. But those all have to be be integrated with those things that we don’t have in the Department of Defense, of course, the economic and political tools. But in my judgment bringing all of those together on a day to day basis more effectively is something that we need to do," Dunford emphasized.