The United States will sell anti-tank missiles and other weapons to Ukraine, the State Department announced Friday, a change from past practice of providing only military training while permitting small arms sales.
The new arrangement is intended to give Ukraine "enhanced defensive capabilities," a State representative said, because "Ukraine is a sovereign country and has a right to defend itself." The Ukrainian government has been battling Russian-supported separatists following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, and Friday's news is seen as an escalation of U.S.-Russia tensions.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, issued a statement calling for "disengagement and the withdrawal of heavy weapons" in the Ukrainian conflict, an aim U.S. arms sales are unlikely to foster. Read The Week's Kyle Mizokami on whether the Russian military threat is over-hyped. Bonnie Kristian
Iran has successfully tested a new ballistic missile, state-run media reported Saturday, one day after displaying the weapon at a military parade.
The Khorramshahr missile has a range of 1,200 miles, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani labels it "a deterrent" to guard Iranian security against attack. President Trump has accused Tehran of violating "the spirit" of the 2015 nuclear deal with this sort of test, but Rouhani maintains Iran is committed to upholding the agreement.
Russia publicly unveiled its high-tech T-14 Armata battle tank at a 70th Victory Day parade in May, celebrating the Allies' defeat of Nazi Germany. The Armata, expected to be the centerpiece of Russia's ground forces for years if not decades, is full of cutting-edge technology, both offensive and defensive — "For the crew, it's like playing a video game," Ilya Demchenko, one of the tank's designers, tells The Associated Press. And it has room to grow.
"New technologies built into the Armata could make it possible in the future to build a fully robotic vehicle that would operate autonomously on the battlefield," says AP's Vladimir Isachenkov, citing Armata chief designer Andrei Terlikov.
Currently, the Armata is fitted with a standard 125 mm cannon, but its weapons are aided by a digital control system that tracks targets, directs the Armata's movements — it has a pioneering remote-controlled turret, for example — and automatically deploys the tank's defenses, which include a new kind of armor protected by a reactive layer that defensively explodes when hit by a projectile.
If NATO is nervous about the Armata, it won't be alone. Moscow will eventually sell the tank to "our traditional partners: India, China, and Southeast Asia," said Vladimir Kozhin, an aide to President Vladimir Putin, according to Russian media. You can read more about the Armata at AP. Peter Weber