The Department of Defense has granted the government of Ukraine $200 million in security funds. The payment brings the total amount of aid paid to the eastern European nation since 2014 to more than $1 billion.
The funds are to be used for additional training, equipment and advisory efforts that will bolster the capacity of Ukraine’s security forces. Specifically, the funds will provide defensive equipment and operational needs which will enhance Ukraine’s secure communications, military mobility, night vision and military medical treatment.
The Ukrainian government recently adopted the Law on National Security, which provides a framework aligning Ukraine’s nation security infrastructure with Euro-Atlantic principles. The move constitutes a major step toward NATO ascension.
Ukraine has traditionally been pro-Russian, but in 2014 a popular uprising toppled a government that was closely aligned with Moscow and replaced it with one that was more pro-West. Russia responded by invading the country and annexing an eastern portion of Ukraine.
The international community condemned the move while the Russian government, citing popular votes, maintains the will of the people was being carried out.
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for a summit earlier this week in Helsinki, Finland. The subject of Ukraine was discussed according to both leaders. President Putin subsequently revealed that he offered to hold referendums in additional regions in Ukraine on the question of secession from the country.
Two eastern Ukrainian regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, held referendums in May 2014 and declared independence from Ukraine. The referendums were recognized by Russia but were not recognized by Ukraine, the U.S. or the European Union.
President Putin said President Trump asked him not to make the offer public so that he may consider it. The White House has not commented.
Photo by International Crisis Group