Christopher Miller+ Your Authors @ChristopherJM Correspondent covering Eastern Europe & more @BuzzFeedNews. Also seen @RFERL @POLITICOEurope @ViceNews @Guardian. Send tips to [email protected] Jul. 03, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

A noteworthy development in the war in eastern Ukraine: Brigades deployed to the front line in future rotations will be equipped with Javelin anti-tank systems from the US, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak told local media. 

This would be remarkable because Ukraine has not yet used the Javelin anti-tank systems in the war and the US delivered the systems on the condition that they be stored safely behind the front line and deployed only in the event of a full-on Russian invasion, at least originally.

The front line in eastern Ukraine has remained generally static since 2015 and exchanges of fire are mostly mortars, machine guns and sniper fire. There isn't much in the way of moving armor out there right now, so I wouldn't expect the Javelin's to be used much, if at all.

But knowing that Javelin systems are on the Ukrainian front line and ready to be used by Ukrainian soldiers trained on them could be a deterrence against possible escalation; or it could be viewed as a provocation and actually spark more serious clashes. We'll have to wait & see.

One thing is certain, Ukraine has been itching to move some of the Javelin systems to the front line ever since they received the first shipment from the US in 2018. 

Just weeks after Ukraine received its first shipment of Javelins, it tested them and then-President Poroshenko boasted about them on social media. 

You can follow @ChristopherJM.


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