The Defense Department announced Friday that it will provide $200 million to Ukraine in security cooperation funds for additional training, equipment and advisory efforts to build the defensive capacity of Ukraine’s forces among its ongoing struggle with Russian-supported forces in Crimea.
“This reaffirms the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Ukraine, and brings the total U.S. security sector assistance to Ukraine to more than $1 billion since 2014,” the statement reads.
The added funds will provide equipment to support ongoing training programs and operational needs, including capabilities to enhance Ukraine’s command-and-control, situational awareness systems, secure communications, military mobility, night vision and military medical treatment.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) who founded the Senate Ukraine Caucus, applauded Friday’s announcement which he called “a clear message that America stands with the Ukrainian people in their struggle…against Russian aggression.”
The Trump administration announced that the U.S. military would begin sending lethal aid to Ukraine in December 2017, which marked a major departure from Obama White House policy. Obama administration officials frequently refused to supply Ukraine with lethal aid.
The decision to increase military aid for Ukraine comes after President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Helsinki Finland in which the president was accused of being weak on Russia. Trump was further accused of siding with Putin over his own intelligene agencies.