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US State Department approves potential missiles sales to UK, Finland, Lithuania -Pentagon

FILE PHOTO: People enter the State Department Building in Washington

(Reuters) -The U.S. State Department approved three potential arms sales to the United Kingdom, Finland and Lithuania, the Pentagon said on Monday as Ukraine's European allies continue to stock up on munitions after flooding Kyiv with donations.

European demand for U.S. weaponry is soaring, but instead of big-ticket items like jets and tanks, shopping lists are focused on cheaper, less-sophisticated items such as shoulder-fired missiles, artillery, and drones that have proven critical to Ukraine's war efforts.

The State Department backed a potential sale of 3,000 joint air-to-ground missiles to the United Kingdom worth $957.4 million, according to a statement. The missile is primarily used for short-distance air strikes.

Lockheed Martin Corp would be the principal contractor for the sale.

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The department also approved a potential sale to Finland of 150 advanced anti-radiation guided missiles worth $500 million, according to a separate Pentagon statement on Monday. The missiles are used to destroy an enemy's radar arrays in the hopes of rendering the adversary blind to attack.

Northrop Grumman would be the principal contractor for the transaction with Finland.

The Pentagon also announced on Monday that the State Department has approved a potential sale of 36 advanced medium range air-to-air missiles to Lithuania with Raytheon as the principal contractor.

(Reporting by Jasper Ward; Writing by Caitlin Webber and Mike Stone; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)