US delivers anti-tank missiles to Ukraine: report
PR dla Zagranicy
The US State Department has confirmed a delivery of American-made anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has reported.
The Javelin antitank missile system as used by British soldiers. Photo: Stuart A Hill AMS/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons
The broadcaster said the delivery was likely to anger Moscow amid a four-year-old conflict that has seen Russia-backed separatists battling Ukrainian troops.
The Javelin anti-tank missile systems intended for Ukraine “have already been delivered," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty quoted a US State Department official as saying on Monday in response to a query.
The State Department provided no further details, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said.
It noted that, according to the authorities in Kyiv as well as Western governments, ever since Moscow seized the Crimea region of southern Ukraine in March 2014, Russia has armed and coordinated Ukrainian separatists as well as provided Russian fighters amid attempts to seize control of swathes of eastern Ukrainian territory across the Russian border.
The US shipment marks at least a symbolic victory for Ukraine in its efforts to keep Western support in the simmering conflict, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 after a referendum that the Ukrainian authorities and the West said was illegal. Earlier, Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms seized strategic facilities on the peninsula from the Ukrainian army and local authorities.
The White House is said to have approved the sale of Javelin systems to Ukraine late last year after months of heated debate, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The announcement at the time triggered a sharp reaction from Moscow, including an accusation against the United States of "fomenting a war," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said.
The US permanent representative to NATO was earlier this month reported as saying that the United States wants to see Ukraine become a member of NATO in the future.