President Donald Trump to seek $250M in additional military aid for Ukraine

Dec. 4 (UPI) — Pentagon and congressional sources confirmed Wednesday that President Donald Trump will seek at least another $250 million in security aid for Ukraine in his 2020 budget request.

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood told reporters that, pending congressional authorization, the administration intends to continue lethal aid assistance to the country, which Pentagon spokeswoman Carla Gleason confirmed to UPI.

Defense News first reported the administration’s intention to continue funding for Ukraine defense.

Committees in both the House and Senate have included funding for Ukraine in defense funding bills currently being debated.

“Our desire, as we’ve moved forward at the Defense Department, has been to work with our Ukrainian colleagues to provide the security assistance as envisioned,” Rood said. “Of the $250 million, a lot has been put on contract for the variety of things envisioned for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.”

This summer Congress approved $250 million in support for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative under the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020.

Caleb Randall-Bodman, deputy communications director for the House Committee on Armed Services, told UPI that Congress is continuing to fund Ukraine security “mainly to push back on Russian aggression.”

The text of the House’s bill includes $250 million in support for actionable intelligence, anti-armor weapon systems, medical treatment and secure communications devices.

The Senate’s bill includes $300 million dollars for Ukraine.

Aid to Ukraine is central to the ongoing impeachment inquiry against Trump, with House Democrats asserting this week that the president made defense support a condition of the country’s willingness to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate.

The White House relinquished its hold on $250 million in promised military aid in September, but in November the Los Angeles Times reported that more than $35 million in promised aid for Ukraine remained in U.S. accounts.