May 17, 29022
The Senate advanced $40 billion in additional proposed US assistance to Ukraine on Monday, with the final passage of aid package expected to take place as soon as Wednesday. Last week, Senator Rand Paul temporarily held up the bill by requesting some oversight for the billions in taxpayer dollars Washington plans to shovel in Kiev’s direction.
The United States has sent over $3.8 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since late February – over 30 percent more than it has over the eight-year war in the Donbass, and making Kiev the single largest recipient of US arms aid in 2022 so far.
Between 2014 and 2021, as post-Euromaidan coup governments in Kiev sought to crush the fledgling Donbass independence movements by force, Washington provided the country with $2.7 billion in “lethal and non-lethal” military aid, including Humvees, sniper equipment, patrol boats, Javelin anti-tank missiles, and training.
President Joe Biden stepped up arms aid, approving over $335 million in assistance between the time he stepped into office in early 2021 and the escalation of the crisis in the Donbass at the start of this year.
After Russia and its Donbass allies kicked off their military operation in Ukraine in February, the US delivered thousands of Javelins, AT4 anti-armour systems, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, Mi-17 helicopters scavenged from Afghanistan, radars, grenade launchers, a host of small arms, M777 and M198 howitzers and artillery, armoured personnel carriers, drones, jamming equipment, and other aid.
The $3.8 billion in assistance, which does not account for over a billion euros more in military aid from Washington’s European allies, has made Ukraine the single largest recipient of US military aid in just a matter of months. For comparison, in 2020, Israel received $3.3 billion in US military assistance, with Afghanistan and Egypt getting $2.7 billion and $1.3 billion during the same year.
The new $40 billion combined military and “humanitarian” aid package making the rounds in Congress includes $19.75 billion in new defence assistance, including $6 billion in weapons and training, $8.7 billion to replenish US stocks, $4.4 billion for United States European Command, and $600 million for the Defence Production Act.
Moscow has accused the US and its NATO allies of engaging in a “hybrid war” against Russia, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying Tuesday that the West was using Ukraine as “expendable material” in the confrontation.