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The United States said Thursday that it has begun discussions with its NATO allies about the possibility of providing anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, although it acknowledged that there may be “technical challenges” in doing so.
“We have started consulting with our allies about the possibility of providing anti-ship missiles to Ukraine. There may be some technical challenges in getting it done, but it’s something we’re starting to work on,” said an American official who requested anonymity.
The official was present during President Joe Biden’s speech at Thursday’s extraordinary summit of NATO leaders in Brussels to respond to the war in Ukraine.
The session also saw consensus that the alliance must be prepared to respond in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack by Russia in Ukraine, the source added in a telephone press briefing.
The debate over the possibility of sending anti-ship missiles to Ukraine came shortly after the Ukrainian navy claimed to have destroyed a Russian troop landing ship docked in the Russian military-controlled port of Berdiansk.
The port of Berdiansk, on the Sea of Azov in the south of the country, is of strategic importance to the Russian invaders as a key point for getting ammunition, military hardware, and soldiers into southern Ukraine.
Berdiansk is 70 kilometers southwest of Mariupol, a city currently besieged by the Russians and where heavy fighting has been going on for several days.
Since February 24, Russia has been waging a war of invasion against Ukraine with heavy bombardment from the air and from the sea, as well as artillery attacks.
The attacks have not been limited to military targets, but have also hit residential buildings and other buildings sheltering civilian personnel.