From 2014-2016, the U.S. provided more than $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine.
- The 2016 aid package included support through training (for conventional and special operations forces), equipment (including counter-artillery and tactical UAVs), and advisers (to advance defense reforms).
- For example, this assistance included “sophisticated defensive radar systems, including ones that can track mortar fire to its source allowing for highly accurate counter-targeting.”
- The 2017 NDAA signed by President Obama authorized an additional $150 million to train and equip Ukraine.
- The Trump administration package includes many of the same items, like medical equipment.
- In addition, the U.S. and our NATO allies worked together to endorse a Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine in 2016.
- The program was announced in 2014 with a $1 billion emergency investment in response to Russia’s aggression. In 2016, the administration quadrupled the investment to $3.4 billion for 2017. It was renamed the European Deterrence Initiative in 2017.
- Through Operation Atlantic Resolve, ERI invested in presence; training and exercises; infrastructure; prepositioned equipment; and building partner capacity.
- The agreement provides a framework for bilateral cooperation, transfer of military equipment, material and technical resources, and the provision of services and training of personnel
- Secretary Carter appointed Retired four-star Gen. John Abizaid, the former commander of U.S. Central Command [and current US Ambassador to KSA], as a senior defense adviser to Ukraine, in response to a Ukrainian request
DETAILS ON TRAININGTraining Focused on Russia: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described the goal of the training as “to learn how to beat Russia.” [Politico, 11/23/15] Training Agitated Russia: [A]ccording to Oleksiy Melnyk, a defense analyst at the Razumkov Center think tank in Kyiv, the US mission also sends a strong political message to the Kremlin. “The noise raised by the Russian side about how this destabilizes the situation is a sign of how crucial [the US presence] is,” he said. “In reality, this is a stabilizing factor.” [Global Post, 4/22/15] Training was Effective: About 300 U.S. Army paratroopers have been working with a mix of Ukrainian combat veterans and fresh recruits. Officials say they’ve seen clear improvement in the Ukrainians’ combat effectiveness and cite it as a reason the pro-Russian separatists have made few territorial gains since summer. [Politico, 11/23/15] Training Addressed Dangerous Vulnerabilities: “They’ve suffered severe casualties, and this was an acknowledgment that, at least in part, those casualties may have been because of insufficient military skill,” Farkas said. [Politico, 11/23/15] “And given Russia’s use of hybrid warfare – exemplified by the so-called ‘little green men’ in Ukraine – we are investing in additional rotational presence of US Special Operations Forces, which are particularly well equipped to help allies respond to such activities.” [Secretary Carter, Remarks at the Atlantic Council, 11/23/16]
DR. FIONA HILL ON LETHAL ASSISTANCE“I was not initially in 2015, before I joined the government, and I’m sure that many people on the committee have seen that I wrote an opinion piece with a colleague at the Brookings Institution in that juncture, because I was very worried at that particular point in time that the Ukrainian military not in a fit state to really take onboard sophisticated weapons, be they defensive or offensive weapons. And I worried that there was not a long-term sustainable plan given the overwhelming force that the Russians could apply against the Ukrainians. However, when I came into government in 2017 and started to interact with all of my colleagues in the Pentagon, and you had Laura Cooper here yesterday, I realized in fact that there had been an awful lot of work done on this and that there was a clear and consistent plan for the sustainability long-term of the Ukrainian military, so I changed my mind.” [Testimony, 11/21/19]