The Pentagon reportedly fears advanced military technology could fall into Russian hands
The White House has shelved plans to sell four MQ-1C Gray Eagle combat drones to Kiev over fears the technology could fall into Russian hands, Reuters reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
According to the report, the sale was initially approved by the White House, but later flagged by the Pentagon’s Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA), which is tasked with keeping high-tech technology out of enemy hands.
The officials are said to be concerned that the drone’s radar and surveillance equipment could be captured by the Russians. The issue had been overlooked but came up for discussion at a Pentagon meeting late last week, Reuters said.
A source said the radar and sensors may now be replaced for something “less refined” for the sale to go through, but that could take months.
The Gray Eagle is the US military’s newer version of the MQ-1 Predator attack drone, which has been widely used for air strikes in the Middle East. Like the Predator, the Gray Eagle can carry Hellfire missiles.
The planned sale was reported in early June and has not been officially confirmed by the US.
The report of the delay comes as Ukraine continues to push the West to broaden and speed up arms supplies to fend off the Russian offensive.
“If you think we should lose, tell us right away, ‘We want you to lose.’ Then we’ll understand why you’re giving us weapons at this level’ Mikhail Podoliak, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, told the New York Times on Monday.
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Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The protocols brokered by Germany and France were designed to give the breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself as a neutral country that will never join NATO’s US-led military bloc. Kiev maintains that the Russian offensive was unprovoked and denies that it intended to retake the two republics by force.
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