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US State Department Confirms Licensed Commercial Export of Arms to Ukraine

© AP Photo / Evgeny KrawsUS Sgt Barrett, left, instructs a Ukrainian soldier during joint training exercises on the military base in the Lviv region, western Ukraine, Thursday, May 14, 2015
US Sgt Barrett, left, instructs a Ukrainian soldier during joint training exercises on the military base in the Lviv region, western Ukraine, Thursday, May 14, 2015 - Sputnik International
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A US State Department official has confirmed to Sputnik that the United States approved licenses for the commercial export of lethal weapons to Ukraine.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The official pointed out, however, that the United States government has neither directly sold nor granted defensive weapons to Ukraine nor ruled out the option of doing so.

"The Department of State has licensed the commercial export of a limited number of small arms and light weapons to Ukraine from US manufacturers," the official said on Wednesday. "We have never had any policy that restricts such commercial sales. The United States reviews requests for sales and export license applications on a case by case basis and this one was no different."

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The US media said earlier on Monday that the State Department had approved for the first time the sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine. Notably, The Washington Post reported that the State Department approved a sale worth $41.5 million for M107A1 sniper systems, ammunition as well as associated parts and accessories to Ukraine.

Earlier in December, US President Donald Trump signed the country's defense bill, authorizing some $700 billion in funding for the Department of Defense. The Ukrainian Embassy in the United States said that the signed budget authorized the provision of defensive lethal weapons to Kiev.

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On Wednesday, Canada put Ukraine on its Automatic Firearms Country Control List, allowing Ottawa to supply Kiev with several types of weapons, but only after receiving authorization from the Canadian Foreign Ministry.

Ukraine, which has been engaged in a military conflict in the southeastern region of the country for three years, has repeatedly asked the United States to provide it with defensive lethal and non-lethal weapons. Russia has repeatedly warned against plans to supply arms to Ukraine as it may lead to further escalation of the situation in Donbass.

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