The Obama administration is withholding urgently needed non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine under restrictions that view body armor, night vision goggles, radios, and fuel as destabilizing “force multipliers,” according to a bipartisan assessment of Ukraine’s military needs.
“Independent of American high-level policy, implementation of U.S. non-lethal military aid is seriously flawed and needs immediate correction,” states a report by retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark and former arms control official Phillip A. Karber following a visit to military units in Ukraine.
U.S.-Russian tensions escalated last weekend when a Russian jet flew fewer than 1,000 yards above a U.S. warship in the Black Sea, the Pentagon said Monday.
The incident occurred Saturday as the guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook patrolled waters in the western Black Sea and was buzzed 12 times in low-altitude passes by a Russian Su-24 attack jet in a move the Pentagon called “provocative.”
“This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman.
The report on non-lethal defense aid concludes that the administration must reverse its decisions in declining urgent requests from the Kiev government to supply needed military aid, specifically body armor, night vision goggles, secure communications gear, and aviation fuel. The aid was turned down as “provocative,” the report said.
The report said confusing force multiplier criteria is being used to prohibit significant nonlethal military aid and should be replaced with a clear policy of barring lethal weapons and ammunition, but sending all other nonlethal gear, with a priority on the vests, goggles, radios, and fuel.
U.S. officials have said the non-lethal aid limits are part of the administration’s conciliatory policy of seeking to avoid upsetting relations with Moscow. The administration believes sending needed non-lethal military aid will be viewed as a provocation and prompt Moscow to invade and seize a land bridge in Ukraine as a supply route between Crimea and Russia, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Full article: Administration Urged to Lift Restrictions on Non-Lethal Military Aid to Ukraine (Washington Free Beacon)