- The Washington Times - Friday, June 12, 2020

A $250 million security assistance package to Ukraine will provide them with training, equipment and advisory efforts to strengthen their capability to defend against Russian aggression, Department of Defense officials announced this week.

The funds come from the fiscal 2020 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, $125 million of which was conditional on Ukraine’s progress on defense reforms.

The support will mean enhancements to Ukraine’s defensive lethal capabilities, air surveillance systems to monitor their airspace, the survivability of their command and control through counter-artillery radar, military medical equipment and combat evacuation.

The aid package also will provide Ukraine with cyber defense and strategic communications to counter Russian cyber operations and misinformation, Department of Defense officials said.

Arming Ukraine has been a delicate subject in the Trump administration. Allegations from Democrats in the House of Representatives that the president attempted to coerce Ukraine leaders to provide political dirt on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden led to his impeachment.

But Defense officials said the security cooperation programs announced this week were made possible by Ukraine’s continued progress on anti-corruption reforms.

Over the past year, Ukraine has taken considerable steps to strengthen civilian control of the military; reform command and control structures and introduce measures to promote increased transparency and competition in defense procurement, according to the Pentagon.

The efforts are completed by increased security assistance support from key NATO allies and partners. “The United States also welcomes recent Ukrainian investments in U.S. defense articles that further strengthen our strategic partnership,” Defense officials said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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