Apart from the ultimate outcome of Ukrainian-Russian meetings, the Pentagon will likely continue fast-tracking substantial support to Ukraine in the form of weapons, money and cooperative allied support.
Senior DoD officials confirmed on Feb. 26 that indeed multiple kinds of weapons and supplies are continuing to be accelerated into Ukraine, however the official declined to offer details about what weapons apart from more Javelin anti-tank missiles for understandable security reasons.
Javelin Anti-Tank Missiles
“I think it's fair to say that the Javelins will be in this - in this next tranche as they had been in so many tranches in the past. I'm comfortable acknowledging that. I'm not going to go beyond that in terms of detail. And on the when, I can confirm for you that they have received security assistance from us,” a senior DoD official told reporters at the Pentagon, according to a Pentagon transcript.
Of course the situation could change quickly as is often the case in warfare, yet initial reports from the Pentagon suggest that when Russian forces began to try to approach the Ukrainian capital, they faced a much fiercer resistance than they may have anticipated.
"We continue to believe, based on what we've observed, that this resistance is greater than what the Russians expected. And we have indications that the Russians are increasingly frustrated by their lack of momentum over the last 24 hours, particularly in the northern parts of Ukraine," the senior official said.
The official also confirmed that President Biden has authorized $350 million in support to Ukraine and that the US and NATO are working closely to provide support.
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“All the security assistance that we provided are in consultation with the Ukrainians. And we're confident that what we're providing them is in-line with what they need,” the official said.
The official was also clear that the flow of assistance and weapons will continue to flow into Ukraine at an accelerated pace, efforts supported by NATO allies and a multinational coalition of countries committed to supporting Ukraine.
“We have continued to flow assistance to the Ukrainians, even since the air space has become disputed and contested. And we're going to continue to look for additional venues to do that, especially now given that the President has authorized another $350 million worth of assistance,” the official said.
It makes sense that more Javelins would be sent as experienced US Army war commanders confirm they are effective against tanks. This is particularly significant given that Global Firepower’s 2022 assessment of Russia’s military says their Army operates 12,000 tanks.
Perhaps a high number of Javelins, particularly if used in more urban areas where attackers could hide and hit and run while potentially being less vulnerable to tank fire. Could they really hold up against a massive tank invasion? Effective use of Javelins might force the Russians to use heavy firepower in urban areas, something which would put the cities’ infrastructure and civilian population at great risk.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven - the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.