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Trump To Get Proposal To Supply Defensive Weapons To Ukraine, ABC News Reports

U.S. Javelin launchers and missiles could be heading to Ukraine.
U.S. Javelin launchers and missiles could be heading to Ukraine.

Senior aides will present U.S. President Donald Trump with a $47 million plan to finance and sell high-tech defensive weapons to Ukraine to bolster its efforts to repel Russian aggression in the region, ABC News reported, quoting a State Department source.

ABC News on November 18 said the plan would supply Ukraine with weapons that include portable Javelin antitank missiles.

News reports say a shoulder-mounted weapon Javelin costs about $126,000 per launcher and $78,000 for each missile.

A spokesman for the National Security Council (NSC) told ABC on November 17 that the agency had "no announcement at this time." The NSC decided earlier this week to green-light the presentation of the package, ABC said.

Any decision on the matter has to be approved by the U.S. Congress, as well as Trump.

Ukrainian government forces are battling Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in a war that has killed more than 10,000 people since April 2014.

Russia also seized control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and annexed the region in March 2014.

Escalation Fears

During a visit to Ukraine in August, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signaled his personal support for providing weapons to Kyiv. That comes in sharp contrast to the previous White House administration, which feared that supplying weapons could escalate the situation and tensions with Russia.

But such a move would also represent a reversal from the Republican party platform on sending lethal weapons to Ukraine.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, after Trump became the party nominee, the Republican platform was shifted from supporting "lethal defensive arms" to Ukraine to more vague language calling for "appropriate assistance.”

Trump, during the campaign and into his presidency, has pressed for better relations with Russia, worrying some that he was looking to weaken support for the pro-Western government in Kyiv and to possibly attempt to ease sanctions on Moscow imposed for its aggression in Ukraine.

A State Department official told ABC that a meeting will be held in the coming weeks to discuss the "public messaging" related to the sale.

With reporting by ABC News, AP, and The Hill
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