The US government is expediting the transfer of five transport helicopters to Kiev, as Washington insists that Moscow could “invade” Ukraine any day now. The Mi-17 helicopters were originally purchased from Russia and intended for the former Western-backed government in Afghanistan, before it surrendered to the Taliban last August.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Friday that Congress has been notified of the move, which will be conducted under the Excess Defense Articles program. The State Department said on Thursday this was the “fastest transfer ever” for the US government.
The helicopters are already in Ukraine, which was servicing them on behalf of the Pentagon and was supposed to send them to Afghanistan until the Taliban takeover disrupted those plans. Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov requested them from the Pentagon in late November, along with ammunition also earmarked for the defunct Afghan Army, Foreign Policy reported last month.