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Translated by Ollie Richardson

02:22:49
15/11/2017

tass.ru


The House of Representatives of the US Congress on Tuesday at a meeting adopted a bill on the financing of the Ministry of Defence of the country in 2018, which included an article about the allocation of funds for the so-called counteraction of Russia in Europe, the total amount of which is about $4.6 billion. The initiative was supported by a majority vote.

According to the explanatory materials, “$4.6 billion was allowed to be spent for the realisation of ‘Initiatives of containment in Europe’ with the purpose of strengthening allies’ confidence in NATO and to strengthen” the military capabilities of the US in Europe. From this sum $100 million can be spent on increasing the defense capability of the Baltic states. In addition, Congress allowed the Secretary of State and the Minister of Defence to spend $350 million on rendering military aid to Ukraine, including deliveries of defensive weapons.

According to the text, the Ministry of Defence is given the chance to deliver to Kiev defensive arms, equipment, and also to carry out training of the Ukrainian military and to give them technical support. As before, the Pentagon is allowed to provide anti-tank weapons to Ukrainian troops. But restrictions are provided – the head of the ministry will be able to use only a half of the designated sum. The second part will only become available after he notifies the Congress of the carrying out by the Ukrainian authorities of “institutional reforms” in the defense sphere.

At the same time, with the approval of this article between the two chambers, it was decided to to exclude the provision on strengthening the Ukrainian Navy by means of deliveries of mines, anti-mine means, and a radar for the coast guard, and also concerning the treatment of Ukrainian soldiers in the American medical institutions. In the explanatory materials it is claimed that such norms are allegedly already provided in the text of the bill.

In the bill it is specified that the Pentagon has no right to spend the funds allocated to it for actions that would signify “the recognition of the sovereignty of the Russian Federation” over Crimea. However, this norm can be bypassed if, according to the Minister of Defence, it is required for national security.

Now the bill must be adopted by the Senate, after which it will arrive for the signature of the President.

The authors of the bill also express concern about “the expansion of Russia’s” influence  in the Balkans. In this regard the Congress wants to request from the Pentagon a report indicating, in particular, “military equipment and technologies that are worth more than $1 million” that the Russian Federation delivered to the West Balkan States since 2012.

The bill provides the carrying out of training and supplying of troops of the allied countries, and not only from among NATO members. Besides this, means under this article must be spent on improving the compatibility of the actions of the American forces and their partners.

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