Aug 28, 2021
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“Symbolic Act of Support”: Why Biden Allocated Ukraine Up to $ 60 Million in Military Aid

US President Joe Biden ordered to provide Kiev with assistance in the amount of up to $ 60 million from the Pentagon budget. As noted in the White House, the funds will be directed “in the form of defense products and services of the US Department of Defense, as well as education and training of military personnel.” The decision on the next package of military assistance was made by the American side on the eve of Biden’s meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. However, experts and RT interlocutors in Ukrainian political circles believe that a very modest amount of US assistance is unlikely to contribute to strengthening Ukraine’s defenses. According to analysts, Biden’s decision is a “symbolic gesture.”

US President Joe Biden ordered to allocate aid to Ukraine in the amount of up to $ 60 million at the expense of the Pentagon. This is stated in the relevant order issued by the press service of the White House.

“I hereby delegate to the Secretary of State the authority under section 506 (a) (1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to direct the phasing out of up to $ 60 million in aid to Ukraine in the form of US Department of Defense products and services, as well as education and training. military personnel and take the necessary decisions in accordance with this section, ”the document says.

It is worth noting that Biden took this step ahead of a scheduled August 31 meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Washington.

“This visit will confirm the continued support of the United States for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian aggression in Donbass and Crimea, our close cooperation on energy security, our support for President Zelenskiy’s efforts to combat corruption and the implementation of a reform program based on our shared democratic values, “White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during a briefing yesterday.

Recall: Kiev and Washington accuse Moscow of allegedly being a party to the internal Ukrainian conflict. Russia has consistently rejected these accusations, emphasizing that it does not take part in the conflict and is not interested in an armed clash with Ukraine.

American motives

Note that Washington periodically allocates aid to Kiev for the needs of the army, justifying this by “aggression” on the part of Russia.

So, in March, the US Department of Defense announced that the Ukrainian side was provided with $ 125 million for this purpose. At the same time, the department emphasized that this step confirms the readiness of the United States to provide Kiev with lethal defensive weapons so that Ukraine could “more effectively” defend itself against “Russian aggression”. In addition, the Pentagon noted that the new tranche is intended to “help them (Ukraine. – RT) in preserving the country’s territorial integrity, protecting its borders and improving interoperability with NATO. “

  • Pentagon building
  • AFP
  • © STAFF

In addition, the American side has promised to provide Ukraine with another $ 150 million when it makes “sufficient progress in key defense reforms.”

After that, in April, the head of the Pentagon Lloyd Austin said that the United States intends to continue to supply Kiev with certain types of weapons, “non-lethal materiel”, and also send military instructors to the republic.

“We have provided Ukraine with a certain material support in the past and will strive to do so in the future,” he said during a joint press conference with the US Secretary of State and NATO Secretary General.

In June, Jen Psaki also said that Washington has prepared a reserve fund in case of “further encroachments by Russia in Ukraine.” She also said that on the eve of the US-Russian summit, the United States provided the Ukrainian side with “a security assistance package in the amount of $ 150 million, including lethal assistance.”

“Currently we have transferred (to Ukraine. – RT) the entire amount approved by the Congress in the framework of the relevant initiative, “- said the press secretary of the White House.

She also recalled that two days before the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden “spoke to NATO in front of the whole world” with a statement about Washington’s readiness to continue supporting Ukraine in its opposition to “physical aggression from Russia.”

In early August, Pentagon Director for Southern and Central Europe Alton Buland said that the United States will continue to make efforts to “build the capacity” of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to defend it.

“Bone from the master’s table”

As experts and sources of RT in political circles of Ukraine note, additional aid to Kiev for military needs in the amount of up to $ 60 million is nothing more than “another handout from Washington”, which is unlikely to somehow help Kiev to increase its defenses, given the strongest corruption in country.

“This is an extremely frivolous material investment, which will in no way affect the state of the Ukrainian defense industry or the situation in army circles. The money simply will not reach the goal and will be stolen. Washington has taken such a step as a symbolic act of support for the Ukrainian authorities, which are always counting on moral and material incentives from the West, “Pavel Feldman, deputy director of the RUDN Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts, explained in an interview with RT.

  • White House building in Washington
  • © Stephanie Reynolds – Consolidation via CNP / Keystone Press Agency

Konstantin Blokhin, a researcher at the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has a similar opinion. In a conversation with RT, he noted that $ 60 million is a “drop in the bucket” even for Ukraine, which is already accustomed to receiving insignificant amounts from the United States.

“This is another demonstration of some allied relations, an expression of solidarity and nothing more. This money will not change the geopolitical balance of power and improve the deplorable state of the Ukrainian army, ”Blokhin said.

At the same time, according to Pavel Feldman, for the Ukrainian authorities, any help from Washington serves as a convenient excuse to tell the people about the support of the West.

“Zelensky is accused by oppositional Ukrainian politicians, citizens and the media of failing to build a dialogue with the American administration and therefore the United States is no longer as loyal to Ukraine as it used to be. Thus, with a new portion of military aid, albeit very modest, Washington gives Zelensky the opportunity to show the opposition at least some evidence of this support, “the analyst explained.

At the same time, from his point of view, Kiev, most likely, counted on more impressive funds.

“The ridiculousness of the $ 60 million sum shows Washington’s real disdain for Kiev. This is a bone from the master’s table, and those who throw it understand how insignificant these funds are for the defense industry and the army of Ukraine. On the other hand, they also realize that the effectiveness of these funds will be very small, if not zero, given the level of corruption in the country, ”the expert says.

Konstantin Blokhin also believes that the Ukrainian authorities will be extremely disappointed with such a “subsidy”. According to him, Kiev has been waiting for a long time that “after its turn to the West, dollars will flow to Ukraine.”

“The stake was placed on the fact that the West would view Ukraine as the main instrument of restraining Russia, and Kiev hoped to be at the forefront of this process. Under the Trump administration, the country’s political elite was in limbo and awaited Biden’s arrival, thinking that everything would change dramatically. But then Biden came, and nothing really changed. The Ukrainian question is still far from being in the wake of American politics, no matter how much the Kiev authorities want. And aid of up to $ 60 million is a slap in the face for the Ukrainian authorities, which once again confirms this, ”the analyst believes.

The interlocutor of RT from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense also says that $ 60 million is “a penny” for the army.

“You cannot buy anything with these funds. All this looks like an imitation of help: they say, they gave money – even before the meeting with Zelensky. But in reality they refuse to help, ”he stated.

  • Transfer of American military equipment to the Ukrainian army at Boryspil airport
  • Reuters
  • © Gleb Garanich

A RT source at the Foreign Ministry, in turn, believes that the modest size of the investment is due to US concerns about the high level of corruption in Ukraine, especially in the defense sector.

“Therefore, no one intends to allocate a lot of money. So it’s more of a symbolic gesture, ”he says.

The RT interlocutor from the Batkivshchyna party adheres to a similar point of view.

“Apparently, Biden decided to confine himself to words of support and a handout of $ 60 million. The Ukrainian authorities cannot take a step without the approval of their Western partners, but practically nothing is paid for it. Although the Americans can be understood somewhere – with such total corruption, the funds will simply be plundered. There is simply no sense to allocate more money, ”he summed up.

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