The Obama administration is withholding essential non-lethal military equipment from Ukrainian security forces, according to a report by top U.S. defense experts.
Philip A. Karber, an adviser to Reagan Defense Caspar Weinberger, and retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, a former NATO commander, are urging the Obama administration to reverse its policy of denying urgent aid and send the Ukrainian government body armor, night-vision goggles, aviation fuel and secure communications gear, the Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday.
Washington has provided limited food assistance but has called non-lethal military aid “provocative,” Clark and Karber said in their report, delivered after they visited military forces in Ukraine earlier this month at Kiev’s request.
They say Ukrainian forces need body armor to protect them from Russian snipers and night-vision goggles to prevent infiltration after dark.
The goggles are “a technology routinely available to the Russian army and if it is provocative, then that provocation needs to be answer[ed] with a symmetric response,” Clark and Karber said.
According to their report, the Ukrainian forces also need digital satellite radios to replace inadequate Soviet-era communications equipment. But under current Obama administration policy, the satellite radios are considered destabilizing “force multipliers” that cannot be provided to the Ukrainian side.
Clark and Karber said the ban on aviation fuel is “blatantly ridiculous at a time that Russian aircraft and UAVs [drones] are routinely flying the Ukrainian border within minutes of target.”
The White House believes sending needed non-lethal military aid will exacerbate tensions and could prompt more aggressive action by Moscow against Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
In addition to seizing Crimea, Russia is believed to have deployed between 40,000 and 80,000 troops along Ukraine’s eastern border. Last week, the administration accused Moscow of sending operatives to foment unrest in Ukraine as part of its efforts to create a pretext for an invasion.
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