US working on non-lethal aid package for Ukraine

U.S. officials revealed Wednesday that they are working on a package of aid for Ukraine that would include medical supplies and clothing, but would stop short of providing body armor and military-style equipment, The Associated Press reported.

ADVERTISEMENT
News of the aid package came the day after the leak of a report by two former senior defense officials that urged the administration to move faster on aid.

The report, authored by retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a former NATO commander, and Phillip Karber, and a former senior defense official, said the implementation of U.S. non-lethal aid for Ukraine is "seriously flawed and needs immediate attention."

The April 8 report, which was released for wider distribution Tuesday evening, said there was a confusing “Force Multiplier” criteria banning critical aid that was not actually lethal.

It also said that delivery of aid is harmed by a bureaucracy “that is not operating with a sense of urgency or implementing leadership.”

“It must be replaced with an attitude that puts a priority on helping Ukraine ahead of a narrow preoccupation with administrative procedure and institutional budgets,” wrote Clark and Karber, who had recently traveled to Ukraine at the request of Ukrainian officials.

The report urged the administration to send body armor, night vision goggles, radios and aviation fuel.

Only 1 in 100 Ukrainian soldiers have armored vests, they said.

In mid-March, Ukraine submitted a request for aid that included small arms, mine detection equipment, medical supplies, clothing, communications equipment, Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), water containers, water purification stations and generators, according to a Senate aide.

Although the request was made more than a month ago, the U.S. has only delivered 300,000 MREs in late March.

Since then, defense officials have said other non-lethal items were under review in the “interagency process.”

The interagency process for military assistance typically includes making sure the military aid meets all U.S. and international legal restrictions, as well as furthers national interests, a U.S. official told The Hill.

Lawmaker calls for assistance have mounted in recent days as armed pro-Russian militants have moved into at least eight eastern Ukraine cities, seizing buildings and confronting Ukrainian troops.

Clark and Karber recommended sending seasoned professional American military and national security advisers to Ukraine to help leaders make prudent and wise decisions.