US approves licence for Ukraine to buy small arms from US firms
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US State Department has approved an export licence for Ukraine to buy certain light weapons and small arms from US manufacturers, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Wednesday.
Department records show Ukraine has bought small amounts of those types of weapons for several years, both before and after the 2014 Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
The department notified Congress of the decision on Dec. 13, Nauert said, adding that the US government was not selling the weapons directly to the Kiev government but was allowing Ukraine to buy from US manufacturers.
“Under the previous two administrations, the US government has approved export licenses to Ukraine, so this is nothing new,” Nauert said.
The licence covers weapons in categories such as semi-automatic and automatic firearms up to, and including, .50 calibre weapons. It also includes combat shotguns, silencers, military scopes, and flash suppressors, as well as parts.
Nauert said the US government had not directly provided lethal defensive equipment to Ukraine, nor had it ruled out doing so. US exporters can apply for direct commercial sales licences at any time and those are reviewed by the State Department on a case-by-case basis, she said.