Bipartisan senators urge Trump administration to release Ukraine aid

Bipartisan senators urge Trump administration to release Ukraine aid
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A bipartisan group of senators asked the Trump administration to release $250 million in authorized military security assistance for Ukraine.

Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCost for last three government shutdowns estimated at billion The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ohio), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenDemocrats headed for a subpoena showdown with White House Overnight Defense: Dems grill Trump Army, Air Force picks | House chair subpoenas Trump Afghanistan negotiator | Trump officials release military aid to Ukraine Defense spending bill advances over Democratic wall objections MORE (D-N.H.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinProspects for Trump gun deal grow dimmer Senators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms Trump defends push to ban flavored e-cigarettes: Let's 'keep young children from Vaping!' MORE (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDemocratic senator warns O'Rourke AR-15 pledge could haunt party for years Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks Hillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks MORE (R-Wis.) wrote a letter Tuesday to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyNOAA chief praises agency scientists after statement backing up Trump tweet The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Democrats ramp up calls to investigate NOAA MORE after Politico reported that the administration was delaying the aid. 

They wrote that the funds have helped Ukraine develop its own military capabilities and maintain its sovereignty as it faces Russian attacks. 

"In fact, Ukraine continues to fight daily on its eastern border against Russia-backed separatists in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, and over 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have lost their lives in this war," they wrote. "U.S.-funded security assistance has already helped turn the tide in this conflict, and it is necessary to ensure the protection of the sovereign territory of this young country, going forward."

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"This funding is crucial to the long term stability of Ukraine and has the continued backing and approval of the U.S. Congress which appropriated these funds. We strongly urge you to direct the Department of Defense to obligate these funds immediately," the senators added. 

A Defense Department spokesperson told The Hill that the U.S. was working with Ukraine's government and the Multinational Joint Commission to evaluate the specific needs of Ukraine's armed forces.

The spokesperson added that the department does not publicly comment on internal budget deliberations.

“The President has made no secret when it comes to foreign assistance that U.S. interests abroad should be prioritized,” a senior administration official told The Hill in a statement Wednesday. 

The Hill has reached out to the Office of Management and Budget for comment. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE asked officials to review the funding to make sure that it is being used to further U.S. interests, Politico reported last week, citing a senior administration official. Those asked to review the funding reportedly include Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperTrump at a pivotal crossroads on Iran Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran | Pentagon chief calls attack on Saudi oil facilities 'unprecedented' | Administration weighs response | 17th US service member killed in Afghanistan this year Overnight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks MORE and national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonThe Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? Trump at a pivotal crossroads on Iran Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran | Pentagon chief calls attack on Saudi oil facilities 'unprecedented' | Administration weighs response | 17th US service member killed in Afghanistan this year MORE.

President Trump has recently faced scrutiny over statements about Russia. He said last month that he would he would "certainly" invite Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFeehery: Impeachment fever bad for Democratic governing vision Taliban travels to Moscow after Trump declares talks dead Russians tune out Vladimir Putin MORE to the next Group of Seven summit. Russia was expelled from what was then the Group of Eight because of its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.