US allocates almost a half billion dollars to Ukraine law enforcement, criminal justice partners
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday announced the United States will commit $457.5 million to support Ukrainian law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, including funding to investigate Russian atrocities.
The new allocation brings the total to more than $645 million since mid-December to support groups like Ukraine’s national police and border guard as Russia’s invasion enters its eighth month.
The United States has also provided more than $15 billion in separate security assistance to support the Ukraine’s military resistance against Russian forces.
“Ukrainian law enforcement officers remain resilient, motivated and determined to carry out their wide-ranging law enforcement missions and support for innocent civilians in towns and cities facing continuous Russian shelling,” Blinken said in a statement on Monday.
Blinken said a portion of the new allocation will continue U.S. support for Ukrainian efforts to investigate and prosecute atrocities perpetrated by Russian forces.
Ukrainian forces have liberated thousands of square miles previously occupied by Russia in recent weeks, also bringing forward evidence of mass graves and torture in cities like Izyum.
Officials similarly found mass burial sites in Bucha, a town near the capital city, Kyiv, after Russia fled the region earlier this year.
President Biden at the time called the Bucha killings a war crime and said Russian President Vladimir Putin should face trial.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a speech last week before the United Nations General Assembly called for a special tribunal to punish Russia.
Concerns are also growing in the West after Putin in an address to the nation last week again threatened the use of nuclear weapons, claiming it is “not a bluff” as he also called up 300,000 reservists to bolster Russian forces after they faced steep losses from a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
U.S. officials, including White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, vowed to “respond decisively” if Putin follows through on his threats and promised “catastrophic consequences” for Russia.
An overnight drone strike hours later near Odesa, a key city located on Ukraine’s southern coast, hit a military installation and detonated ammunition, sparking a massive fire and explosion. The port city has seen a series of drone attacks in recent days.