Declassified shipment list shows how US was hyping Ukraine for war
The US has ramped up its military shipments to Ukraine way before Russia began its military operation.
According to a declassified accounting of transfers and sales examined by The Washington Post, the United States significantly increased its supply of lethal military aid to Ukraine as the potential of an escalation with Russia drew closer.
According to the list, the Pentagon began arming Ukrainians with weapons and equipment suited for combat in urban areas as early as December, including shotguns and specialist suits to protect soldiers handling explosive munitions.
The Biden administration has boosted such supplies in the last week, delivering Stinger antiaircraft missile systems for the first time and supplementing Kiev's arsenal of antitank Javelin missiles and other ammunition.
Taken together, the variety, volume, and potency of munitions poured into Ukraine demonstrate the extent to which the US tried to train the Ukrainian military to conduct a hybrid war against Russia, despite President Biden's explicit rejection of American forces entering the battle.
A senior defense official told reporters Friday, on the condition of anonymity, that the US has been looking at the needs of Ukraine for years, detailing that “we have just accelerated our process of identifying requirements and accelerated our consultations as well with the Ukrainians, talking to them daily, as opposed to periodic meetings that we did before this crisis.”
The Pentagon's Chief Spokesperson, John Kirby, declined to comment. According to the list of equipment, the Biden administration believed that Ukraine would need to prepare itself for a multipronged attack.
It confirms that the Biden administration has just deployed Stinger man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS, to Ukraine; weaponry that would help soldiers in attacking Russian planes. These were sent with supplies of Javelin missiles and launchers, which have been the backbone of Ukraine's military support since 2018.
According to a senior defense official, around $240 million of the $350 million in military assistance approved in late February has already been released to Ukraine.
Russian troops gaining control of the Mariupol area could be a foreshadowing of what is to come for other Ukrainian towns.
On Saturday, Denis Pushilin, President of Donetsk People's Republic, announced that Donetsk and Russian forces have completely gained control of the Mariupol-Dnepropetrovsk road, advising nationalists to surrender.
Approximately $200 million in military assistance was approved for Ukraine in late December, which included M141 single-shot shoulder-launched rocket launchers, M500 shotguns, Mk-19 grenade launchers, M134 miniguns typically used for firing from helicopters, and explosive ordnance disposal protective suits.
More than $3 billion in aid
The Pentagon was reluctant to identify the amount or confirm the complete list of military weapons being given to Ukraine. Concerns have been expressed by US authorities about determining what capabilities the Ukrainians have at their disposal, especially after former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told Sputnik Saturday that Kiev has technological capacity for nuclear development.
The US is one of 14 nations that have given Ukraine lethal aid, some of which include equipment that was originally provided to other US allies but was cleared for transfer to Ukraine. According to the list examined by The Post, the third-party transfers include anti-armor and anti-aircraft equipment.
The source also divulged that the US has given more than $1 billion in military support to Ukraine in the last year. The list The Post examined reveals that the support includes counter-mortar radars, secure communications, electronic equipment, medical equipment, trucks, and a regular supply of Javelin missile systems. At least nine Island-class patrol boats and five Mi-17 transport helicopters have also been transferred to Ukraine from the United States' surplus military goods reserve.
Ukraine already acquired 210 Javelins under the State Department's Foreign Military Financing program in 2018 and has since ordered an additional 150 Javelins, which arrived in 2020.
Since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, the US has contributed over $3 billion in military aid to Ukraine.
Russia launched a special operation to demilitarize and "denazify" Ukraine, in response to requests from the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics for assistance in combating Ukrainian troops' aggression. The special operation is only targeting Ukrainian military facilities, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, and the civilian population is not at risk. Moscow has stated that it has no intention of occupying Ukraine.