The FINANCIAL -- The U.S. Defense Department has recommended sending a package of lethal defensive military aid to Ukraine worth about $50 million, U.S. media are reporting.
The Wall Street Journal, NBC, The New York Times, and other media outlets have cited unnamed Defense Department officials as saying the recommendation has been forwarded to the White House for consideration, according to RFE/RL.
A Pentagon official would not confirm the reports but told NBC on August 4 that "we haven't ruled anything out."
The reports are in line with comments made in an interview with Current TV on July 25 by the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, who said the administration is considering sending "defensive arms" to Ukraine.
The reported weapons package purportedly would include Javelin shoulder-launched antitank missiles.
Ukraine has long sought the Javelins to defend against Russian-made armored vehicles operating in rebel-held areas.
Until now, the U.S. military has not supplied Kyiv with antitank missiles, but it has been training the Ukrainian army in methods to stop armored vehicles without missiles, such as by laying wire traps that damage treads of tracked vehicles.
The New York Times reported the military aid would also include antiaircraft arms that would be defined as defensive weapons.
Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in early 2014 and has provided extensive military, economic, and political aid to separatist militants in eastern Ukraine.
During a visit to Kyiv last month, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg asserted that Russia has "thousands" of troops on Ukrainian soil.
Although Russia denies military involvement in the conflict, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in November 2016 determined the conflict to be "an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation."
With reporting by NBC, the Wall Street Journal, Stars And Stripes, BBC, and The New York Times