White House Slams Door On Advanced Drones For Ukraine

White House Slams Door On Advanced Drones For Ukraine

These past few months have seen the ‘war of drones’ play a decisive role on the Ukrainian battlefield. For the Russian side, drones were heavily utilized in the ramped up air campaign to degrade Ukrainian energy infrastructure following the bombing of Crimea’s Kerch Strait Bridge. For Ukraine’s army, Western-supplied drones have allowed them to strike increasingly behind Russian front lines. There’s meanwhile been international condemnation over the prevalence of Iran-supplied suicide drones launched from the Russian side.

Ukraine is of course hoping to begin deploying drones with longer reach. But, one day after the Midterms election, the Biden administration has shut the door on Kiev obtaining more advanced and longer range UAVs from the US ahead of the likely political pressure from what will now be a GOP House with a narrow majority. 

Is this is beginning of the end for the era of US blank check writing for Ukraine?

“The Biden administration won’t give Ukraine advanced drones despite pleas from Kyiv and a bipartisan group of members of Congress, a reflection of the limit of the kinds of weaponry Washington is willing to provide for Ukraine’s defense,” The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. 

The timing of this leak to the media is fascinating, given the Biden administration’s relative hawkishness was a key differentiating talking point against Republicans in the lead-up to the Midterms (especially given the Ukraine-flag-waving virtues of much of the Democratic Party base).

Image: Gray Eagle MQ-1C, General Atomics Aeronautical

The Biden administration “won’t give Ukraine advanced drones despite pleas” from the Zelensky government as well as some and members of Congress.

In particular, the White House has nixed a proposal to hand the Gray Eagle MQ-1C drones over to Ukraine on fears that it could rapidly escalate confrontation with Russia. The question was reportedly under consideration for months.

The WSJ report, citing US officials, explains that US planners worry that doing such would “signal to Moscow that the US was providing weapons that could target positions inside Russia.” The calculus likely includes wanting to avoid further direct attacks on Crimea, which President Zelensky has pledged to liberate. 

The report also cited the further US intelligence concern that the MQ-1C Gray Eagle sensitive technology could be stolen, such as its ultra-advanced cameras, if it crashed and fell into enemy hands where it could be studied and potentially reverse engineered. 

U.S. Refuses Advanced Drones for Ukraine to Avoid Escalation With Russia: WSJ

Quick, progressives should unwithdraw their letter

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 10, 2022

Starting in September, a bipartisan group of Congressmen began lobbying the Pentagon hard to move on advanced drone transfers to Ukraine, in hopes it would put pressure on the White House. The Congressional leaders sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arguing it was vital to the Ukrainian counteroffensive. 

Tyler Durden
Thu, 11/10/2022 – 12:20

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