Portman Praises State Department Approval of Anti-Tank Missiles to Ukraine

March 2, 2018 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised the State Department’s approval of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. The approval and pending sale marks the end of the interagency process for approving the sale of these important weapons, which can be transferred to Ukraine at the conclusion of the mandatory 30-day congressional review. The policy change, first announced in December, is a significant reversal from the previous administration’s ban on the sale or supply of U.S. weapons to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression. 

“Providing lethal weapons to Ukraine will send a clear message that America stands with the Ukrainian people in their nearly four year struggle to secure a democratic, prosperous, and independent future for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression,” said Portman.  “The final interagency approval and formal notification of Congress marks another important milestone towards the fulfillment of America’s promise to stand with Ukraine. As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and author of several provisions authorizing expanded U.S. military assistance — including lethal aid — and establishing the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, I look forward to the full implementation of the bipartisan legislation Congress has already passed to help the Ukrainians defend themselves against Russian aggression. 

The new arms sale, publicly posted by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency on March 1, comprises 210 Javelin Missiles and 37 Javelin Command Launch Units (CLUs). Also included are Basic Skill Trainers (BST) and accompanying United States Government and contractor technical assistance, transportation, training and other related elements of logistics and program support.  The total estimated cost is not to exceed $47 million. The sale will be paid for using Foreign Military Financing, a State Department-led program to help bolster the defensive capabilities of U.S. allies and partners.

NOTE: Portman, who received the Ukrainian-American community’s highest honor, the Shevchenko Freedom Award, has long led the effort to provide Ukraine the kind of assistance necessary to ward off Russian aggression and maintain its territorial integrity. The co-founder and co-chairman of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Portman has visited Ukraine several times, including leading a Congressional election observation mission with Senator Ben Cardin during Ukraine's Presidential election in 2014. For the past three years, Portman has successfully introduced amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization Act that expanded U.S. military aid to Ukraine. These provisions helped build the primary statutory framework for U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. In addition, he has repeatedly written letters, delivered multiple floor speeches, and pressed senior Administration officials on the importance of providing meaningful assistance to help Ukraine stand up to Russia's military aggression.