"I'm pretty sure that in a year and a half we will start supplying weapons to Ukraine," he said.
According to Herbst, the United States shall export "the so-called lethal defensive weapons, not offensive." At the same time the ex-ambassador added that a similar opinion is shared by the Congress, along with other senior officials of the administration, except for President Barack Obama.
The former ambassador also admitted that the really big mistake of the U.S. president's administration is believing the crisis in Ukraine to be solely European, regional crisis.
"But when one of the two leading nuclear powers is conducting an offensive, the military forces are trying to change international borders, it is a global crisis of the first type," Herbst said.
The ambassador added that even now, without U.S. weapons, Ukrainian troops are successfully fighting in the ATO area.
On March 26, the U.S. Senate unanimously adopted a resolution (S. Res. 72) calling for President Barack Obama to accelerate the provision of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine.
On March 23, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution urging Obama to immediately grant Ukraine lethal weapons.
However, the State Department has repeatedly stated that the Obama administration has not made a final decision on supplying arms to Ukraine.