Does this count as collusion? . . . Donald Trump approves deal for US to sell sniper rifles to Ukraine, angering Russia
The Trump administration has approved the export of lethal small arms including a multimillion dollar sniper rifle deal, ramping up its support for Ukraine in the simmering conflict with Russia-backed separatists.
Moscow condemned the move as likely to escalate violence.
…The Washington Post reported that the state department had approved a license for the $41.5 million commercial sale of .50 caliber Barrett M107A1 sniper rifles and ammunition to Ukraine. During a trip to eastern Ukraine this week, soldiers told The Telegraph they were outgunned by separatist snipers.
And Foggy Bottom says it’s really no big thing.
The state department said on Wednesday it had approved a license for US manufacturers to sell .50 caliber firearms and smaller weapons to Ukraine, including assault rifles, combat shotguns, silencers, military scopes and flash suppressors. Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the license was “nothing new” since Ukraine has previously purchased small amounts of such weapons.
This Trump administration is just moving forward on action Congress authorized three years ago, but the Obama administration blocked.
The US congress authorised the export of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine in a law signed in 2014, but Barack Obama’s administration refrained from delivering the arms. The US government is still not directly supplying weapons to Ukraine, and the export of the much-sought Javelin antitank missiles has not been approved.
One step at a time.