Javelin missiles to be kept far back from frontline in Donbas so they don't fall into enemy hands - media
U.S. plans to arms Ukraine infuriated Russia and aggravated deteriorating relations, but a bigger worry for the U.S. side is such weapons as Javelin anti-tank missile systems falling into enemy hands, the Ukrainian service of the Voice of America has reported, with reference to U.S. newspaper The Wall Street Journal.
"The provision of weapons to Ukraine should keep the simmering conflict from flaring into a hot war by improving government forces' ability to defend against possible rebel offensives. U.S. officials say they have carefully considered the dangers, taking particular precautions with Javelin anti-tank missiles the Trump administration is sending. Those weapons have been designated for units far back from the eastern Ukraine frontline to ensure that Ukraine doesn't use them for an offensive push and they aren’t lost to the enemy if the fighting shifts," reads the report.
The report notes that these concerns by U.S. representatives are not groundless, since such incidents are no exception and have already occurred in the past in Georgia, Syria and Ukraine.
The U.S. provided aid, including training and equipment, to Georgia during its 2008 conflict with Russia-backed separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and American-issued equipment was captured on Georgian bases. The U.S. also provided Syrian rebels with arms contributed by NATO allies, much of it Eastern European surplus, that then made its way into the hands of Islamic State.
In Ukraine, a short-range radar system transferred from the U.S. to the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 2014 to detect the site from which the enemy launched artillery attacks, deployed near Debaltseve (Donetsk region), fell into the hands of separatists and Russians supporting them, but a representative of the Ukrainian Armed Forces informed the U.S. side that parts of the radar system had been destroyed before the withdrawal of troops.
"U.S. and Ukraine officials say it is critical the separatists don't get hold of the Javelin missiles for fear they could be used against Ukrainian tanks. A Russian official indicated the U.S. policy was wise. He suggested separatists or Russia could potentially resell them to a conflict zone where they could be used against U.S. personnel," the report says.
On December 25, 2017, ABC News reported, citing several sources in the State Department, that U.S. President Donald Trump was expected to announce his approval of a plan to sell anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian government.
According to sources, the total defense package of $47 million includes the sale of 210 anti-tank missiles and 35 launchers.
If the president announces his approval, the plan will be submitted for consideration by the U.S. Congress within 30 days and then transferred to the State Department, the television channel reports.
"The sale of anti-tank missiles, which could possibly include the U.S.-made Javelin system, provoked a strong reaction from Russia on Saturday, saying it 'crossed the line,' and could threaten to derail Trump's calls for better relations with Moscow," the report says.