White House unblocks $391.5 million defense aid to Ukraine

Obinwannem News “This is life-and-death funding for a country that is fighting one of our enemies in the world.”

The United States President Donald J. Trump’s administration has unblocked allocating $250 million on defense aid for Ukraine following weeks in opposition to congresspersons advocating the support of Kyiv amid Russian aggression, the military news media outlet Defense News reported on Sept. 12.

Besides, it became known that the White House decision lifted the hold on additional $141.5 million prepared for Ukraine by the State Department.

Initially, Trump was reported on Aug. 30 to be contemplating freezing the transfer of aid to Kyiv on grounds of intention to check if helping Ukraine serves U.S. national interests.

The move triggered a strong bipartisan reaction in the Congress, with many lawmakers, including Trump vocal supporters, pressuring the White House to lift the hold.

Eventually, according to Reuters, the allocation was unblocked late on Sept. 11 just hours before a Senate committee was expected to discuss a legal amendment that would prevent the president from impeding aid transfers in the future.

“Why are you holding this up?” Defense News quoted Democrat Senator Richard Durbin and the chairman of Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, as addressing the administration.

“This is life-and-death funding for a country that is fighting one of our enemies in the world.”

Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford, on the other side, defended the administration’s deliberation, saying that the allegiance of Ukraine’s recently-elected President Volodymyr Zelensky to the U.S. was in question, although he expressed support for U.S. military aid to Kyiv.

“It was entirely reasonable that the United States spent a couple of months getting to know (Zelensky) and his administration,” Lankford said.

“I think we should have moved faster, but there was due diligence, and the administration has been active in trying to get lethal aid to the Ukrainians in the past.”

According to reports, $250 million will be allocated as part of the Pentagon’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, while $141.5 million from the Department of State will cover providing Ukraine with sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and other items.

“The United States’ support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity remains ironclad,” the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv stated on its Twitter page late on Sept. 12. “And the United States views support to Ukraine, through military assistance, as an important national interest. That support continues.”

“These funds are designated for the procurement of weapons and military hardware, rendering services that would facilitate improving capabilities of Ukraine’s Armed Forces,” the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington also commented the unblocking late on Sept. 12 on its Facebook page.

“This policy of the U.S. supporting the people of Ukraine in repelling Russian aggression indicates the strategic partnership between our nations and is a strong contribution to enhancing European and Euro-Atlantic security.

According to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch, since the outbreak of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in early 2014, the U.S. has allocated over $1 billion in defense aid to Kyiv, including lethal weaponry, such as the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank systems delivered to Ukraine at no cost in 2018.

Read more here>>> https://www.kyivpost.com

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