General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 26 that a proposal to provide lethal aid to Ukraine was awaiting a decision from the White House, Censor.NET reports citing Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.
"In my judgment, from the military perspective, Ukraine needed additional capabilities to protect their sovereignty," Dunford said when asked why he supported the provision of lethal weapons.
In particular, Dunford said, "we felt [that the] ability to stop armored vehicles would be essential for them to protect themselves."
Dunford said that the Pentagon, in reviewing Ukraine's defenses against fighters equipped by Russia, detected a "gap" between Ukraine's defensive capabilities and its needs.
"We just looked at it as a military gap that existed, and if that gap was filled, it would increase the probability the Ukrainians could defend themselves," he said.
The U.S. special envoy for negotiations on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Kurt Volker, has also advocated providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine.
Ukrainian authorities have urged the United States to send weapons and have asked in particular for portable Javelin antitank missiles, which soldiers in the conflict say are needed to fend off attacks from tanks and self-propelled artillery.