Former Obama administration official Michael Carpenter lauded a member of President Trump's Cabinet for playing a role in the decision to authorize the U.S. commercial sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine for the first time.
“Kudos to [Defense] Secretary [Jim] Mattis for arming Ukraine,” Carpenter tweeted Wednesday. “The rifles approved for commercial sale are not the Javelin missiles everyone expected, but at least the artificial ‘lethal’ Rubicon is crossed and hopefully Javelins will follow (perhaps unannounced?).”
Kudos to Secretary Mattis for arming Ukraine. The rifles approved for commercial sale are not the Javelin missiles everyone expected, but at least the artificial "lethal" Rubicon is crossed and hopefully Javelins will follow (perhaps unannounced?). https://t.co/8VMu48dRcu— Michael Carpenter (@mikercarpenter) December 20, 2017
The Washington Post reported Wednesday the State Department approved a commercial license that would permit items such as Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories to be exported to Ukraine.
The sale is valued at $41.5 million, and the weapons will assist the Ukrainian military address areas of weakness as they battle a Russian-backed separatist movement in two provinces.
This decision diverts from the Obama administration's decision to not sell arms to Ukraine. Although Congress had approved the sales in the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, the Obama administration decided not to move forward with it, which was viewed as a choice to not provide the Ukraine military with lethal weapons.
A senior Trump administration official told the Post that Trump approved the license after being presented with a decision memo by both Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Carpenter previously served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense who oversaw issues pertaining to Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and conventional arms control. He also served as a foreign policy adviser in the White House to Joe Biden and as director for Russia at the National Security Council. He is now a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.