Washington is less concerned about ‘provoking Russia’ with its arms deliveries to Kyiv, the outlet reports
US President Joe Biden’s administration is becoming less cautious about its arms shipments to Ukraine, The Hill reported over the weekend, adding that Washington now thinks it could get away with sending more arms. powerful in kyiv without triggering an escalation.
The United States has been reluctant to meet kyiv’s demands for months since the conflict began, particularly for heavy weapons like tanks or fighter jets, the outlet said, adding that U.S. officials do not did not initially think that Ukraine would resist Russia. long enough to benefit from such military aid. Washington also feared that massive military assistance to Ukraine could trigger a dangerous escalation in its relations with Moscow.
“We were a bit more cautious at first…not knowing if Putin…would get worse, and also weren’t sure if Ukraine could use what we have. [sent] them or hold out for a long time against Russia,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC-based think tank.
America has also postponed testing of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile several times until the spring to avoid stoking tensions, The Hill reported, adding that a successful test of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) missiles was kept secret for two weeks in March for similar reasons.
Now that attitude is believed to be changing because the United States believes Russia has failed to follow through on its threats, The Hill said, citing several former US officials. “Over time, the administration recognized that it could provide bigger, better, longer and heavier weapons to the Ukrainians and the Russians did not react,” he added. William Taylor, former US ambassador to Kyiv, told the outlet.
According to the former diplomat, Moscow “bluffed and blustered, but they weren’t provoked.” Previously, Russian officials had warned that they would view Western arms convoys as legitimate military targets, especially when they reach Ukrainian territory. Yet no such convoy has been hit so far, although the Russian military has reported hitting Ukrainian military installations housing Western military equipment several times.
Now, “the fear of provoking the Russians has diminished” within the Biden administration, Taylor believes.
“The instincts of people in departments and agencies, especially state and defense and the intelligence community, … need to be more forward-thinking and more aggressive,” a former senior government official told The Hill.
In late August, Biden authorized a record arms shipment for Ukraine, worth nearly $3 billion. On September 1, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said more weapons packages were to be announced in the near future. According to The Hill, Washington could send Excalibur precision-guided artillery munitions to kyiv. These munitions can travel up to 70 kilometers, according to the media.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that Western arms supplies to Ukraine only prolong the conflict and exacerbate human suffering.
You can share this story on social media: