Pentagon announces $250M in Ukraine aid

By Justin Doubleday / June 11, 2020 at 12:21 PM

The Pentagon has announced plans to spend $250 million on the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative this year.

In a statement released today, the Defense Department said the fiscal year 2020 funds would be used for "additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to strengthen Ukraine's capacity to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression."

The money will fund "Ukraine's defensive lethal capabilities and situational awareness in the maritime domain, air surveillance systems to monitor sovereign airspace, command and control and survivability of Ukraine's Land and Special Operations Forces through the provision of counter-artillery radars and tactical equipment, military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures, and cyber defense and strategic communications to counter Russian cyber offensive operations and misinformation."

Half of the USAI funds were "conditional on Ukraine's progress on defense reforms," according to the statement.

"Over the past year, Ukraine has taken considerable steps to: strengthen civilian control of the military; reform military command and control structures; transition to a Western-style human resources management system; introduce measures to promote increased transparency and competition in defense procurement and the defense industrial sector; and tighten internal controls to reduce corruption," the statement reads.

The announcement comes months after the House of Representatives approved articles of impeachment against President Trump for his administration's withholding of $214 million in Ukraine aid last summer. Democrats alleged President Trump withheld the money until Ukraine launched an investigation into his 2020 election rival, former vice president Joe Biden.

However, the Senate acquitted Trump of those charges in February.

The Government Accountability Office found the White House broke the law when it withheld the funds for "a policy reason," violating the Impoundment Control Act.

Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2021 defense policy bill would authorize a further $250 million in security assistance for Ukraine, according to a summary of the bill released today after the panel passed it yesterday.

The bill also "requires a long-term plan for assistance to Ukraine, and supports NATO designation of Ukraine as an 'enhanced opportunities partner,'" according to the summary.