US-produced Javelin anti-tank missile systems can now be used in eastern Ukraine following the transition to an open arms purchase procedure between the two countries, former Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Valeriy Chaly told LB.ua news outlet in an exclusive interview.
“We can now use these new anti-tank missile systems, when they are bought, at our discretion. And station them where we want, for example in eastern Ukraine,” he said.
The diplomat admitted that the current batch of Javelins will not change the balance of power in the Donbas, but it will save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers. “When we acquired the first Javelins, the number of attacks on key areas decreased. The militants were afraid to get into tanks, because they knew that the anti-tank systems were covering from above,” Chaly emphasized.
The former ambassador believes that Ukraine will have new opportunities to purchase modern American weaponry after the current batch of Javelins has been delivered.
“Ukraine is now receiving great assistance from the United States. Of course, it’s not the same amount as Israel or other US allies, especially Egypt. Nevertheless, we hold one of the first places in this area. And it’s defensive equipment, training programs. We have made a tremendous effort in order to establish this trust. The Pentagon knows that the Ukrainian Embassy has always been able to safeguard too sensitive information in order to achieve concrete results. We have taken a huge step forward. The relevant purchase terms have already been approved by the Pentagon, the Department of State, and now Congress is considering it. And I’m hoping for a positive result, that we will get this batch, after which opportunities on an entirely different level will open up to us. We currently need several other modern systems,” the former ambassador concluded.
The first batch of Javelins, worth $47 million, arrived in Ukraine in spring 2018. Then US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said that Ukraine had not paid for the weapons. In Autumn 2017, BuzzFeed reported with reference to sources in the US government that President Donald Trump did not want to give Ukraine weapons for free.
Shortly thereafter, US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker said that the military assistance program for Ukraine envisaged both free and paid-for weapons. In summer 2019, the US embassy reported that Ukraine had asked to buy weapons from the US for the first time.