Oct 2, 2019

$39M U.S. anti-tank missiles sale to Ukraine approved: Reports

Soldiers fire a Javelin anti-tank missile during a live-fire demonstration north of Melbourne, Australia, in May. Photo: William West/AFP/Getty Images

The $39 million U.S. sale of 150 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 2 missile launchers to Ukraine has been approved by the State Department and informally signed off by Congress, Bloomberg first reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: Ukraine is at the center of a whistleblower complaint that triggered the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The issue of U.S. military aid "played a role in initiating the impeachment inquiry," Politico notes.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Trump in their July 25 phone call "we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States," a White House memo shows. Trump replied, "I would like you to do us a favor though" before asking him to find out about a CrowdStrike conspiracy theory, per Axios cybersecurity reporter Joe Uchill.

The big picture: AP and other news outlets briefed by officials on the arms sale, which is expected to be confirmed officially soon, report that the deal is separate to the nearly $400 million in military aid Trump confirmed last month he had withheld from Ukraine. That aid has been released, according to ABC.

  • Per Reuters, the weapons deal was finalized weeks before Trump’s call with Zelensky in which they discussed the possibility of Ukraine investigating 2020 candidate Joe Biden and his son.

Background: Politico notes that Javelins have featured in American military support to Ukraine since the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, pointing to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service showing that the U.S. has provided $1.5 billion in military assistance to the Ukrainian government from 2014 to June this year.

Go deeper

Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House's impeachment inquiry has been driven forward by new disclosures of what exactly President Trump wanted the government of Ukraine to do — revealed in 3 key documents, but nonetheless distorted and disputed along the way.

We've gathered the key players, events and disclosures of the Trump-Ukraine saga in one place to clear up what's happened so far and examine where we go from here.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019

Reports: Ukraine felt early Trump pressure and knew of military aid freeze

Volodymyr Zelensky and Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, Sept. 25. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

A pair of anonymously sourced reports published Wednesday indicate that the Ukrainian government felt pressure from the Trump administration to pursue investigations into the president's political rivals in the U.S. earlier than previously known.

Driving the news: AP reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with advisers on May 7 to discuss how to navigate requests from Trump and Rudy Giuliani that would effectively push Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. The New York Times reports that high-level Ukrainian officials were aware that Trump was withholding nearly $400 million in military aid by August, and that they were told to reach out to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to address it.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

What matters most in the Trump-Ukraine scandal

President Trump waits to enter his campaign rally in Lake Charles, Louisiana., on Friday. Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters

This morning, Axios goes back and puts in order for you the most important things we have learned about President Trump and Ukraine.

Why it matters: There’s just so much new each day. Some consequential revelations get overlooked; some ephemeral developments get overblown. Even people who follow it all fairly diligently can get wildly confused.

Go deeperArrowOct 13, 2019