The U.S. Congress is poised to allow the sale of coastal defense and anti-ship weapons as part of future security assistance packages to Ukraine, through the 2020 defense policy bill.
The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this week and is expected to be passed in the Senate next week; President Donald Trump has already announced he will sign the sweeping policy bill, Defense News reports.
Speaking at the German Marshall Fund on Friday, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, indicated that the weapons would be ideal fits for a pair of Island-class patrol boats Ukraine has received from Washington.
Those boats were "supplied without anything on them," said Kuleba, the first member of the current Ukrainian government to visit Washington. "So we will continue working on obtaining more boats of that class, and hopefully with some of the equipment you mentioned."
The language authorizing the missile sales coincides with similar legislation proposed in May by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and ranking member Michael McCaul.
In a statement Friday, Engel called the additional assistance vital to Ukraine's security as it stands against Russian President Vladimir Putin's attempts to undermine its sovereignty and territorial integrity: "Ukraine is on the front lines of the fight against Russian influence and Russian aggression ... I am proud that Congress continues to maintain its strong, bipartisan consensus in its support to Ukraine."
The U.S. has committed more than $1.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014. That funding has included sniper rifles, Humvees, unarmed drones, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars, electronic warfare detection and secure communications, night vision equipment, and military medical supplies and treatment.
The only missiles cleared for sale to Ukraine have been Javelin man-portable anti-tank weapons.