Defense

Pentagon announces $150M in security assistance to Ukraine

The United States will allocate another $150 million to Ukraine to help the country bolster its borders against Russia, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The $150 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," according to a Defense Department statement. 

The money - used to help Ukraine better defend itself against Russian aggression and funded through foreign military financing with the State Department - will fund "counter-artillery radars, counter-unmanned aerial systems, secure communications gear, electronic warfare and military medical evacuation equipment, and training and equipment to improve the operational safety and capacity of Ukrainian Air Force bases," the statement notes.

The dollars, appropriated by Congress for fiscal 2021, were conditional on Ukraine's progress on defense reforms and anti-corruption efforts.

The Defense Department "was able to certify that Ukraine has made sufficient progress on defense reforms this year," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said later on Friday.

The Pentagon "continues to encourage Ukraine to enact reforms that are in line with  NATO principles and standards to advance its  Euro-Atlantic aspirations," Kirby added.

The Pentagon also allocated $125 million to Ukraine back in March. Those dollars went 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.

The United States has used the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to commit more than $2.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014, when Russia seized and annexed Crimea from the country.

The program gained international attention after the Trump administration in 2019 froze the assistance. The move led to former President Trump's impeachment in December 2019, as Democrats said he used the freeze as leverage to force Kyiv to politically damage then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Trump administration officials claimed 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.

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

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