The U.S. is providing Ukraine with lethal weapons, in an effort to help the country with its fight against Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.
The U.S. State Department said in a statement Friday that the decision to provide Ukraine with “enhanced defensive capabilities” is in keeping with the “effort to help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity, to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The statement added that the “U.S. assistance is entirely defensive in nature.”
An ABC-TV news report issued before the announcement said the “The total defense package of $47 million includes the sale of 210 anti-tank missiles and 35 launchers.” The State Department did not confirm that those weapons would be among those supplied.
U.S. President Donald Trump has called for better relations with Moscow, but the arms deal with Kyiv is seen as a likely threat to efforts toward improving ties.
Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Russia that the stand-off over Ukraine was the single most important obstacle to warmer ties between the two countries.