Ukraine in trouble as plan to receive US drones thrown into question by security risks
Ukraine: Britons discuss their thoughts on the UK's involvement
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President Biden had been planning to sell four large MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones to President Zelensky, which can be armed with Hellfire missiles for potential use on the battlefield against the Russians.
However, the sale is now under threat after concerns were raised that their surveillance equipment may fall into enemy hands.
A review by the Pentagon’s Defence Technology Security Administration sounded the alarm after the plan was previously approved by the White House.
There are fears that the sophisticated radar and surveillance systems on the drones could threaten American security if the Kremlin were somehow able to access them.
According to sources, this consideration was initially ignored but came up in meetings last week at the Pentagon.
Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said: “Technology security reviews are a standard practice for the transfer of US defence articles to all international partners.
“All cases are reviewed individually on their own merit.
“Through the established process, national security concerns are elevated to the appropriate approving authority.”
The decision over whether to press ahead with the sale is now being reviewed, with no word yet on when a conclusion will be reached.
A possible solution is to swap out the current radar for something less sophisticated, but that could take many months to complete.
If the sale does go ahead Congress may be able to block it, although it has been reported that outcome seems unlikely.
The Gray Eagle drones are valued at $10million (£8.2million) each and were initially going to be given to the US Army.
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Putin’s forces continue to fight on in Ukraine, as PM Boris Johnson made another visit to Kyiv on Friday.
While there he offered to launch a major training operation for Ukrainian forces and discussed further possibilities for support with President Zelensky.
The EU is also rallying round Ukraine, with the European Commission recommending the country for official EU candidate status.
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