On Monday, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said Pentagon leaders believe the state of Ukraine will survive Russia’s invasion and that the US is preparing to arm the country for years to come.
"I think what we can assure ourselves today is that there will be a country called Ukraine. It will be a sovereign country and that country will have a military that will need to defend it," Hicks said at the Defense One Tech Summit.
"And so as we look ahead, we’re thinking through what are the kinds of capabilities that the Ukrainians need to protect themselves over the long term," she added.
So far, the US has allocated about $54 billion to spend on Ukraine’s war effort, the majority of which will go towards military assistance. The funds are meant to last through the 2022 fiscal year, which ends on September 30 for the federal government.
But Hicks said the Pentagon is looking to support Ukraine in the long-term, over the next five, 10, and 20 years into the future.
"We're certainly thinking through the pieces that go into that with all the lessons we have developing out and aiding, advising and assisting… a partner nation, in this case Ukraine. I do think we are well equipped to do that. So are many of our allies and friends, and we're working together now to decide what's the best pathway forward," she said.
She further described that support would go beyond arms, into permanent training programs: "We’re trying to think through the kinds of both equipment but also the any kind of longer term training and defense establishment efforts that they will need," she added.
Ukraine's president makes impassioned plea to allies to send arms and help stem casualties as Russian forces lay siege to Severodonetsk.— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 14, 2022
Zelensky says the human cost of the battle for the region is "simply terrifying"https://t.co/BG487JUySV pic.twitter.com/W0hMHKUbld
Hicks' comments signal that the Biden administration has no plans to reduce tensions with Russia as one of Moscow’s main motivations to invade Ukraine was Kyiv’s alignment with the US and NATO and the military support the Western powers started providing in 2014.