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U.S. Confirms Antitank Missile Sale to Ukraine

Head of Pentagon’s DARPA tech incubator says the agency is working with local partners.

2 March 2018

The U.S. State Department has given approval to sell antitank missiles to Ukraine.


In a statement yesterday, the Pentagon said the sale “will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” The Hill reports.


Kyiv has been energetically lobbying Washington to reverse the Obama administration’s ban on weapons sales to help it fight Russian-backed separatists in the eastern Donbas region. In December, U.S. officials said Ukraine would be allowed to buy Javelin antitank missiles for use only in a defensive capacity.


Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the first deliveries could be made in a few weeks, The Hill says.


The weapons sale will go ahead under the eyes of Congress, but the Pentagon also has ties to the Ukrainian military that are less open to scrutiny.


The director of the Pentagon’s high-tech development arm, DARPA, Steven Walker, visited Ukraine in 2016 for talks with military, intelligence, and industry leaders, Defense News writes.


Walker told defense writers yesterday that the agency, working through the U.S. European Command, has started several projects in Ukraine.


An overview of DARPA's activities. Image via the U.S. Department of Defense.


“Not providing them weapons or anything like that, but looking at how to help them with information,” Walker added, before declining to go into further detail, Defense News says.


A former DARPA head is also working closely with Ukrainian military and industry.


“I have been called in to advise the reorganization of Ukrainian science and technology, into a new organization called GARDA,” Anthony Tether, who led DARPA from 2001 to 2009, wrote in October.


Tether is an adviser to the country’s largest defense contractor, Ukroboronprom, and recently joined its supervisory board, Defense News writes.


Poroshenko said Tether’s presence on the board would “promote transparency, openness and efficiency” of Ukroboronprom, according to a 21 February statement on the presidential website.



  • DARPA has helped develop many American technological advances, from early weather satellites to stealth technology, the M-16 rifle used by U.S. troops in Vietnam, and the prototype of the internet.


  • Ukraine’s GARDA will be based on the DARPA model, bringing together developers, startups, investors, and the military, the National Industrial Portal news site wrote in October, after Tether held talks with Deputy Prime Minister Ivanna Klimpush-Tsintsadze.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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