Hedging on Ukraine Arms Sales

The US is considering selling Ukraine weapons in light of Russia’s continued disregard for a negotiated ceasefire, a senior Defense Department official told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. Speaking during her confirmation hearing to be the next assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, Elissa Slotkin said, “The option of providing lethal assistance is being looked at.” However, she also noted that the US already has provided over $116 million in assistance to Ukraine, and officials with US European Command have conducted more than 25 visits to advise and assist Ukrainian military forces. Russia’s failure to “live up” to a ceasefire agreement is pushing discussions of arms sales along though, Slotkin added. Pressed by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) as to what factors are under consideration by the Administration regarding military aid, Slotkin said the Russian reaction to direct US arms sales is an important consideration, as well as the views of “other states” on Russia’s periphery.