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U.S. State Department Approves 'Javelin' Missile Sale To Ukraine

A Javelin antitank missile
A Javelin antitank missile

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. State Department has approved the proposed sale of Javelin antitank missiles and launch units to Ukraine in a deal worth about $47 million, the U.S. military says.

"The Javelin system will help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to meet its national defense requirements," the Pentagon said in a statement on March 1.

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” it added.

In December, Washington prompted protests from Russia when it decided to provide lethal defensive weaponry, which some U.S. officials said would include the Javelin antitank missiles, to support Kyiv in its nearly four-year conflict with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

WATCH: U.S. soldiers/Marines fire an FGM-148 Javelin antitank missile during live-fire training exercise:

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that Ukraine had requested 210 Javelin missiles, 37 command launch units, and related hardware. Training, technical assistance, transportation, and other aspects of logistics will be included in the deal, it said.

Officials in Ukraine and the United States had indicated that they were expecting the approval from the State Department. The notice of approval was required by law but does not mean a deal is finalized, the Pentagon said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on February 28 said the first delivery of weapons from the United States was expected in weeks.

"The first delivery of the weapons will take place in several weeks. We are talking about a number of different deliveries, starting with the antisniper devices, because many Ukrainian soldiers were killed by Russian snipers," Poroshenko said.

He added that other military equipment expected from Washington included tools for electronic warfare, air defense, and other kinds of weapons.

"I cannot give all the details as the data is classified," Poroshenko added.

Since April 2014, more than 10,300 people have been killed in fighting between Kyiv's forces and the separatists who control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

With reporting by Christopher Miller in Kyiv
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