The $391 million military assistance aid ordered withheld from Ukraine by President Donald Trump until last September was not the only U.S. arms transfer held up, BuzzFeed News reported.
Several direct commercial sales of arms and ammunition to Ukraine faced significant delays at the same time — and they remain frozen, the news outlet reported. And now, Kyiv wants back the tens of millions of dollars it paid in down payments, the news outlet reported.
According to BuzzFeed, the Trump administration is currently withholding approval for at least six commercial orders for arms and ammunition from U.S. companies to Ukraine, together worth roughly $30 million.
Five of the pending sales from U.S. companies have been delayed for around a year, and one of the sales has been held up for more than a year.
"It's never a totally smooth process, but now it's taking several extra months," that Ukrainian official told BuzzFeed News. "It's a trend of slowing down."
The ammunition sale, the export license for which was submitted to the State Department in November 2018, is the largest and "most critical" of the six sales, two unnamed Ukrainian officials said. The other sales — which were prepaid between January and March 2019, according to one of the Ukrainian officials — include arms needed by Ukrainian forces as they fight their Russian and separatist enemies in the trenches.
Two of the Ukrainian officials and an unnamed U.S. official said the other sales include machine guns, sniper rifles, and handguns, as well as night vision devices and other equipment that the country's soldiers and security forces use on a daily basis.
"They're going to have a hard time explaining why" the sales have been delayed, the U.S. official said.
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