Officials: U.S. agrees to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine

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Russia-backed rebels by a road sign at the entrance in Debaltseve, Ukraine, in 2015. | Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has approved a plan to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles.

That’s according to several U.S. officials who weren’t authorized to discuss the decision publicly and demanded anonymity.

The move intensifies U.S. support for Ukraine’s military as it fights rebels that the United States says are supported, armed and trained by Russia. The decision is likely to inflame tensions with the Kremlin.

Congress has a chance to stop proposed foreign military sales, but is unlikely to do so in this case. Lawmakers have long urged the U.S. to send lethal weapons to Ukraine.

The State Department wouldn’t confirm that lethal weapons would be sent, saying only that the U.S. planned to provide “enhanced defensive capabilities.” The State Department called the assistance “entirely defensive.”

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