Pentagon announces $250M in military aid for Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AA): The Pentagon announced Tuesday it would send $250 million in military aid for equipment and training of Ukraine’s armed forces.

The new funds will bring total military aid given to Ukraine to $1.5 billion since 2014, and will provide its naval forces with training.

The aid will also increase the capabilities of Ukraine’s land forces by providing sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, radars, and night vision equipment.

“This reaffirms the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Ukraine,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Carla M. Gleason said in a statement.

The announcement comes amid concerns about Russian activity in Eastern Europe, particularly its support for separatist forces in eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine following a controversial referendum.

The international community views the annexation as illegal and the election Russia uses to justify it as illegitimate.

“The United States remains committed to helping Ukraine implement provisions of Ukraine’s 2018 Law on National Security to strengthen democratic civilian control of the military, promote command and control reforms, enhance transparency and accountability in acquisition and budgeting, and advance defense industry reforms,” Gleason said.

“These reforms will bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity in support of a secure, prosperous, democratic, and free Ukraine,” she added.