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Biden likely to allow US contractors to deploy in Ukraine – CNN

The proposed policy change would reportedly end a ban on American defense firms operating inside the former Soviet republic

The administration of US President Joe Biden is reportedly “moving toward” allowing American military contractors to maintain and repair weapons systems in Ukraine.

The policy change is still under review by US officials and has yet to receive final approval from Biden, CNN reported on Tuesday, citing four unidentified people familiar with the deliberations. Allowing contractors to deploy to the conflict zone is seen as one of the possible ways to “give Ukraine’s military an upper hand against Russia,” the media outlet said.

Biden remains firm in his refusal to send US military forces to Ukraine, one of the sources told CNN. However, the president has repeatedly approved escalating US involvement in the conflict, including providing American tanks and long-range missiles to Kiev, despite previously stating he wouldn’t take such steps.

The possible lifting of a ban on US contractors operating inside Ukraine would be another incremental step toward direct confrontation with Russia.

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If approved, the latest policy change would reportedly be implemented later this year, enabling the Pentagon to sign contracts to pay potentially dozens of US companies for deploying to Ukraine. Such deployments could speed up repairs of American weapons systems used by the Kiev regime’s forces.

Since the conflict began in February 2022, Biden has sought to keep Americans away from the frontlines, CNN said. “The White House has been determined to limit both the danger to Americans and the perception, particularly by Russia, that the US military is engaged in combat there.”

As a result, much of the US weaponry damaged in combat has been shipped to other countries, including Poland and Romania, for repairs. US troops also have used video chats to coach their Ukrainian counterparts on routine maintenance work, according to the report.

READ MORE: Biden and Zelensky sign ‘10-year’ security deal

US contractors involved in the program would be required to develop “robust risk-mitigation plans,” one official told CNN.  

The potential escalation in US involvement comes at a time of rising tensions between Moscow and Washington. A Ukrainian attack with US-supplied ATACMS missiles killed at least four civilians, including two children, and injured over 150 on Sunday in Sevastopol. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out that Washington not only provided the missiles, but also their complex targeting.

We understand perfectly well who is behind this,” Peskov said. He added, “Of course, the direct involvement of the United States in hostilities that result in Russian civilians being killed [will] have consequences.” 

READ MORE: Biden doesn’t want WW3 – White House

The Pentagon denied involvement in targeting of the missiles, saying Ukraine makes its own attack decisions.

June 26, 2024 at 01:33AM

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