US reportedly backtracks on $200mn military aid to Ukraine
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 11 December 2021 3:03 PM
The United States has backtracked on a decision to provide Ukraine with a $200-million package of additional military aid, amid escalation of tensions between Kiev and Russia.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, NBC reported on Saturday that the aid package was expected to be approved and announced last week, but instead the White House chose to postpone any final decision.
The decision was made despite Kiev's appeal for military aid, as it keeps accusing Russia of massing troops near Ukraine's border for a possible invasion. Russia says there is no such plan.
It is not known what the proposed $200-million aid package includes, but Ukraine has asked for air defense systems, anti-ship missiles, anti-tank missiles, electronic jamming gear, radar systems, ammunition, upgraded artillery munitions and medical supplies, according to the report.
Kiev, which had submitted its "urgent request" for military assistance a month ago, and received a positive response, is now frustrated, according to a person familiar with the Ukrainian government's view. "There is slight frustration over this," the source was quoted as saying.
The US, however, is considering a number of other options to provide further assistance to Ukraine, the report said.
The package would include a much larger aid that would be approved "in the event of further incursion by Russia," it said.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier this week that President Joe Biden had told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that if Moscow launched an attack, Washington would send more military aid to Ukraine.
"We would provide additional defensive materiel to the Ukrainians above and beyond that which we are already providing," Sullivan said. According to the NBC report, Sullivan was referring to this much larger package of potential aid, not the $200-million shipment.
The smaller package "has been on the president's desk for roughly three to four weeks," one of the sources told NBC.
Washington has already delivered about $400 million in military aid to Kiev so far in 2021.
The US also threatened earlier this week that it would bolster its military presence on NATO's "eastern flank" and inflict "severe economic harm" on Moscow "should Russia invade Ukraine."
The terse warning to Moscow came on the eve of a virtual meeting between Biden and Putin, on Tuesday.
Russia has repeatedly warned the US against provoking tensions in Ukraine. But CNN reported last month that Washington was even considering sending military advisers and new equipment, including weaponry, to Ukraine.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been deteriorating since 2014, when the then Ukrainian territory of Crimea voted in a referendum to fall under Russian sovereignty. Kiev refused to recognize the referendum results.
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