POLITICO: Trump slow-walks Ukraine military aid meant to contain Russia

President Donald Trump asked his national security team to review the funding program, known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. REUTERS

The Trump administration is slow-walking $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine, annoying lawmakers and advocates who argue the funding is critical to keeping Russia at bay. President Donald Trump asked his national security team to review the funding program, known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, in order to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the United States, a senior administration official told POLITICO on Wednesday.

But the delays come amid questions over Trump’s approach to Russia, after a weekend in which the president repeatedly seemed to downplay Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine and pushed for Russia to be reinstated into the Group of Seven, an annual gathering of the world’s largest advanced economies.

The review is also occurring amid a broader internal debate over whether to try and halt or cut billions of dollars in foreign aid. As UNIAN reported earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump on August 20 expressed his support for reinstating Russia in the G7.

(c) UNIAN 2019


    • Now, that funding is being called into question. The senior administration official, who asked to remain anonymous in order to discuss internal matters, said the president wants to ensure U.S. interests are being prioritized when it comes to foreign assistance, and is seeking assurances that other countries are “paying their fair share.” Defense Secretary Mark Esper and national security adviser John Bolton are among the officials reviewing the Ukraine security funding.

      The explanation isn’t sitting well with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, where members of both parties have pushed to increase military assistance to Ukraine and U.S. military efforts to deter Russia in Eastern Europe.

      There is “an at least temporary effect,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey Democrat who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The bigger problem is that Trump is once again showing himself to be an asset to Russia.”

      The funds for Ukraine can’t be spent while they’re under review and the money expires at the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. The account was originally created by defense policy legislation enacted in late 2015 to help Ukraine battle pro-Russian separatists in Crimea after Moscow annexed the region in 2014.

      “We are aware of an [Office of Management and Budget] hold on funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative,” House Appropriations Committee spokesperson Evan Hollander said in a statement. “We have serious concerns about a freeze on these important appropriated funds, and we are urgently inquiring with the administration about why they are holding up these resources.”

      The House Armed Services Committee “is aware of the restriction, but have requested additional information about what it means and is applied to,” an aide told POLITICO.

      • “…seeking assurances that other countries are “paying their fair share.”
        That’s certainly not a problem with Ukraine. But this review apparently includes Ukraine which is very concerning. Politico is not a very trustworthy source for fairness and impartiality.

  1. If this is valid news, it would appear that 5 of the G7 stuffed a butt plug up President Bonespurs, the draft and rain dodger’s backside. There is a number of questionable aid areas, many through the UN. I do agree accountability in Ukraine is mandated after some of the crap that has hit the fan lately, but how much is true and how much is pollytick mud slinging?

What is your opinion?