High-Tech Arms Going to Ukraine Include Harpoon Launcher

International meeting of defense leaders discusses sending more advanced weapons
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 23, 2022 6:55 PM CDT
Nations Plan Shipments of High-Tech Arms to Ukraine
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley speak with reporters at the Pentagon on Monday after a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – Nearly 50 defense leaders from around the world met Monday and agreed to send more advanced weapons to Ukraine, including a harpoon launcher and missiles to protect its coast, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters. And Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that "low-level" discussion is underway on how the US may need to adjust its training of Ukrainian forces and on whether some American troops should be based in Ukraine. The US withdrew its few troops in Ukraine before the war and said it has no plans to send in combat forces, the AP reports. Milley's comments left open the possibility troops could return for embassy security or another noncombat role.

The US embassy in Kyiv has partially reopened and is staffing up again, and there have been questions about whether a Marine security force will be sent to help protect the embassy. Asked if US special operations forces may go into Ukraine, which officials have insisted they are not doing yet, Milley said that "any reintroduction of US forces into Ukraine would require a presidential decision. So we're a ways away from anything like that." Speaking to reporters, Austin declined to say if the US will send Ukraine high-tech mobile rocket launchers, which it has requested. But he said that some 20 nations announced Monday that they will send new packages of security assistance to Ukraine, as its war with Russia reaches the three-month mark.

In particular, Austin said that Denmark has agreed to send a harpoon launcher and missiles to Ukraine to help with the defense of its coast. Russia has ships in the Black Sea and has used them to launch cruise missiles into Ukraine. The Russian ships have also stopped all commercial ship traffic from entering Ukraine ports. "Many countries are donating critically needed artillery ammunition, coastal defense systems and tanks and other armored vehicles," Austin said after the virtual meeting of defense officials ended. " Others came forward with new commitments for training." He added that the Czech Republic recently donated attack helicopters, tanks, and rockets, and that Italy, Greece, Norway, and Poland announced new donations Monday of artillery systems and ammunition.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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