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Pentagon announces $125M in security assistance to Ukraine

Pentagon announces $125M in security assistance to Ukraine
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The Pentagon on Monday announced a $125 million security assistance package for Ukraine, with another $150 million contingent on Kyiv making progress on reforms and anti-corruption efforts.

The $125 million package for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative “includes training, equipment, and advisory efforts to help Ukraine’s forces preserve the country’s territorial integrity, secure its borders, and improve interoperability with NATO,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

The money — meant to help Ukraine to better defend itself against Russian aggression and funded through foreign military financing with the State Department — will go toward two armed Mark VI patrol boats; counter-artillery radars and tactical equipment; support for a satellite imagery and analysis capability; and equipment for military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures, according to the statement.

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Another $150 million, appropriated by Congress in fiscal 2021, is conditional on Ukraine's progress on defense reforms. 

The Pentagon “encourages Ukraine to continue to enact reforms that strengthen civilian control of the military, promote increased transparency and accountability in defense industry and procurement, and modernize its defense sector in other key areas in line with NATO principles and standards,” the statement reads.

The United States has used the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to commit more than $2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014, when Russia seized and annexed Crimea from the country.

The program was thrust into the spotlight after the Trump administration in 2019 froze the assistance. Democrats said then-President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote READ: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' MORE used the freeze as leverage to force Kyiv to tarnish then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' US officials testify on domestic terrorism in wake of Capitol attack MORE, leading to Trump’s impeachment in December 2019.

Trump administration officials at the time argued that corruption in Ukraine was justification for halting the money, but the argument was undermined by the Pentagon's certification that the country had made progress in fighting corruption.

The Senate acquitted Trump in February 2020 on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress, though a Government Accountability Office review found that the administration broke the law in withholding the aid.