Senate committee clears $300 million more in military assistance for Ukraine, including lethal weapons
Yesterday the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously advanced a bill to add $300 million more in military aid to Ukraine through 2026. The Ukraine Security Partnership Act will go to the Senate and the House for a vote where there is little question regarding the result. The timing of the bill is not fortuitous, of course, as it coincides with panic sown in the West for several weeks by government officials and news media alike about the fictional threat of a Russian invasion of the eastern European nation.
The bill also includes authorization for the creation of a Ukraine working group with European allies [that is, NATO and European Union members] and the appointment of a special envoy to Ukraine for what are described as negotiations.
The chairman of the committee, Senator Bob Menendez, spoke before the vote in these tones:
“In the seven years following Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian service members have selflessly and courageously continued to defend their homeland against Russian ground, sea, and cyberspace assaults that violate Ukrainian sovereignty and security. I am proud to join with Senator Risch on the Ukraine Security Partnership Act, a long-term security assistance package that demonstrates our bipartisan commitment to a secure Ukraine. As we all know, the security situation has grown increasingly dire, as thousands of Russian forces have amassed on Ukraine’s border. This bill could not be timelier in sending a message to the world that we stand by Ukraine.”
The ranking Republican member of the committee, the aforementioned Senator Jim Risch, added this:
“Ukrainians have a right to choose their own future, and this bill contributes to that by supporting Western-style military reforms, lethal and nonlethal military equipment to defend itself from Russia, and U.S. diplomatic support for peace negotiations.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba responded to the vote with these words: “I’m grateful to Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a unanimous passing of the Ukraine Security Partnership Act aimed at increasing annual military aid to $300 mln, including lethal weapons.”
The current National Defense Authorization Act 2021 already includes $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, mainly for advanced training of the country’s armed forces, both lethal and non-lethal equipment and what are described as advisory services. That act includes an amendment introduced by Senator Robert Portman to upgrade the Ukrainian military through “increasing its capability and capacity and providing a resource plan for US security assistance.” Portman also co-sponsored the current Ukraine Security Partnership Act, which his site last year said would provide “strategic support to Ukraine.”
The repeated emphasis on the word lethal in the above quotes is meant to communicate clearly that Washington is preparing Ukraine for armed conflict with the Donbass republics and beyond them with Russia.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba also recent spoke with officials in the European Union to urge Russia be barred from the SWIFT international transfer system, an action Russia stated it would consider an “a declaration of war.”