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Pentagon Asks White House to Give Lethal Weapons to Ukraine

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    Pentagon Asks White House to Give Lethal Weapons to Ukraine
    Ukrainian government soldiers ride on a vehicle on the road between the towns of Dabeltseve and Artemivsk, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015.

    A recommendation to send high-tech tank-killing weapons to Ukraine to help in its fight against Russia is now at the White House, three U.S. officials told NBC News.

    The officials said a proposed aid package includes Javelin anti-tank missiles with an estimated cost of about $50 million. 

    "It is the right move and I see the fingerprints of Secretary of Defense Mattis all over it," Ret. Adm. James Stavridis, former NATO commander told NBC News.

    Russia invaded and annexed the Crimea in 2014 and continues to support pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. The proposal for providing weapons to Ukraine comes amid tension between the White House and Congress over how to respond to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. President Trump signed a bill imposing sanctions on Russia for its cyberhacking and its actions in Ukraine but complained that it harmed relations.

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    While the three officials said no final decision has been made on providing the weapons, they agreed that the Pentagon is in favor of the move.