Pentagon opposing US State Dept on weapons for Ukraine – Politico
The US government is divided over how to arm Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, Politico has reported, citing disagreements that the outgoing chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, has been forced to contend with.
Friction was also evident between the military and the State Department, an anonymous senior administration official told the outlet.
“It’s been frustrating with the administration,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said.
Milley’s four-year term as America’s most senior military commander ends this week, when he will be replaced by Charles Brown, the chief of staff of the US Air Force. The transition “couldn’t come at a more precarious time” considering the state of the Ukraine conflict, Politico claimed on Wednesday.
Politico noted that throughout Milley’s tenure the Pentagon was often criticized by US officials for allegedly not sending weapons to Ukraine fast enough.
“State is looking at opportunities, DOD [the Defense Department] is looking at threats,” a source explained. “Folks at DOD would say they need to think about the pros and cons of each weapons decision, and that responsibility falls on them.”
Milley has argued that his aim was to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needed at a particular juncture, rather than agreeing to all of Kiev’s requests. He also weighed decisions against Washington’s own needs and contingencies, especially concerning “escalation management” and the need to avoid an all-out war against Russia.
The top general stirred anger in Ukraine last year, when he urged Kiev to use a window of opportunity to resolve the conflict diplomatically. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s government has rejected any peace talks with Russia, and has declared a military victory to be its only option.
By August, and with the Ukrainian summer counteroffensive falling far short of expectations, the White House had reportedly conceded that Milley “had a point” and that the chance for negotiations had been lost.
Moscow perceives the Ukraine conflict as a Western proxy war against Russia, arguing that Washington will fight “to the last Ukrainian.”