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CNN: US may allow deploying its military contractors to Ukraine

by Kateryna Denisova June 25, 2024 11:02 PM 2 min read
Photo for illustrative purposes. Workers repair the gun turrets of T-72 battle tanks during the renovation of heavy armor in the military workshop operated by Ukroboronprom in Lviv, Ukraine, on Feb. 15, 2016. (Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Washington is moving closer to lifting a de facto ban on U.S. military contractors deploying to Ukraine, CNN reported on June 25, citing four unnamed American officials familiar with the matter.

Such a move would help the Ukrainian military maintain and repair weapons systems provided by Washington much more quickly. U.S.-supplied military equipment that has been heavily damaged in combat has to be taken out of the country to Poland, Romania, or other NATO countries for repair, which takes a long time, CNN reported.

The policy is still being worked on and has not yet received final approval from U.S. President Joe Biden, the sources said.

"We have not made any decisions and any discussion of this is premature," said an unnamed administration official, ruling out Biden sending troops to Ukraine.

If approved, the changes would take effect this year, allowing the Pentagon to award contracts to U.S. companies to work in Ukraine for the first time since Russia's full-scale invasion, officials told CNN.

One advanced system that is likely to require regular maintenance is the F-16 fighter jet, the first of which Ukraine is expected to receive this summer.

Ukraine could have anywhere from a few dozen to several hundred U.S. contractors working at a time in the country, current and former officials familiar with discussions told CNN.

Biden reportedly opposed French President Emmanuel Macron's proposal to send military trainers to Ukraine. Macron said in early June that he wanted to finalize a coalition of countries for such an initiative.

In late May, Washington allowed Ukraine to use some of its weapons to strike Russian territory near the border with Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts.

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