On Friday, the White House denied a Politico report that said the Biden administration temporarily paused a $100 million in additional military assistance for Ukraine. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the idea that the US halted the aid is "nonsense."
"The idea that we have held back security assistance to Ukraine is nonsense. Just last week — in the run-up to the US-Russia Summit — we provided a $150 million package of security assistance, including lethal assistance. We have now provided the entire amount appropriated by Congress through the Ukraine security assistance initiative," Psaki said in a statement.
The 2021 Pentagon budget allocated $275 million for Ukraine this year, which the US has already released. The Politico report said the US prepared an additional $100 million in lethal military aid in response to recent tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Sources said the additional assistance was put on hold after Russia withdrew troops from the region.
Psaki acknowledged that additional funds were allocated for Ukraine but said it was contingent on a further "incursion" from Russia. "We have also prepared contingency funds in the event of a further Russian incursion into Ukraine," she said.
The news about the additional aid came after President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. Psaki said Biden told Putin that the US "will stand unwavering in support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity."
A Friday Politico report initially set off the controversy...
The White House has temporarily halted a military aid package to Ukraine. The aid package would be worth up to $100 million.https://t.co/A4PPLHZDC7— POLITICO (@politico) June 18, 2021
President Trump was impeached for temporarily freezing military aid for Ukraine in 2019. Trump was accused of leveraging the aid, but the impeachment was also motivated by the idea that Trump was soft on Russia and somehow beholden to Putin.
The narrative about Trump ignores the fact that he was the first president to authorize offensive weapons for Ukraine. Trump approved the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, a step President Obama was not willing to take for fear of stoking tensions with Moscow.