Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
An increase in financing for sectors of security and defense of Ukraine by up to $200 million is provided in the draft of the federal budget of the US for 2019. In comparison with the budgetary request for 2018 the offered sum of help with security to Ukraine was increased by $50 million. This was reported by the press service of the US Embassy of Ukraine on Facebook.
“The specified funds are proposed to be allocated for granting to our country military equipment and services, other military equipment and services, logistical support, intelligence support for the Armed Forces and security forces of Ukraine … In the draft budget for 2019, Ukraine is included in the small list of countries that will receive help with security also under the State Department program ‘Foreign Military Financing’ (FMF),” it is noted in material.
Now the budgetary request must be studied and discussed in the US Congress where changes and additions can be made.
“The final amount of aid to Ukraine will be known after completion of the entire process of passing the document, which is now at the initial stage,” specified the embassy.
At the same time, the senior defensive adviser of the US who is working on the introduction of NATO standards in Ukraine Stephen Silverstein noted that the Ukrainian army is being reformed as quickly as possible.
“Strategically, Ukraine is as important as Korea, Dubai or Kuwait. Thus, we fence ourselves off from our enemy. We didn’t force you to do it, but since you decided to change, we understood in the US that you will never again turn towards Russia,” said Silverstein in an interview to the “112 Ukraine” channel.
He reported that many Ukrainian Generals were trained in the US. “They spent several months there to understand this theory. And now they are learning to embody it practically: span of control, decentralisation, granting greater rights and responsibilities to their subordinates,” said Silverstein.
According to him, in respect of mentality, Russia “is much weaker concerning the organisation of the army”.
“Putin has weapons, and there is money. But Ukraine has heart – the heart and will of its citizens, which was heard loudly and clearly four years ago… In respect of mentality, Russia’s is much weaker, in respect of weapons — it’s much stronger,” considers Silverstein.
In turn, the political scientist Igor Reyterovich considers that the US wants to raise the price of losses and expenses for Russia concerning the war in Donbass.
“Money can never be enough. Despite the fact that in recent years the military budget has risen, the enormous lack of funds is felt … There it is necessary to reconstruct and modernise everything, starting with rooms where there are soldiers and finishing with the equipment … It is a certain hint on the fact that the US will continue to support Ukraine. Nobody removes the questions of Donbass and Crimea. It is necessary to strengthen the Ukrainian army so that the Russian Federation understands the hopelessness of the expansion of the conflict,” said Reyterovich on the air of “112 Ukraine”.
At the same time, the political scientist Vladimir Fesenko considers that NATO should offer Ukraine a new format of cooperation. According to him, it is important for Ukraine to receive practical help from the alliance, but not to become a formal NATO member.
“It is necessary to go the indirect way, not through MAP (NATO Membership Action Plan). We must arrive at NATO standards, to such a level of cooperation with NATO, to participate in different NATO programs … It is better that we receive help with resources, help with training, joint programs for the modernisation and reforming of our Armed Forces to strengthen our safety, but not just formal membership,” said Fesenko.
Besides this, the deputy, member of the “Bloc of Petro Poroshenko” faction, and secretary of the committee on national security and defense Ivan Vinnik expressed doubt that in 2018 in Donbass there will be an essential aggravation of the military situation.
“The parity that will be reached in the military domain makes it possible to draw such conclusions. I also agree with the thesis that Donbass isn’t necessary to Russia. It needs to destabilise the situation within the country so that it is more difficult for Ukraine to go on the path of accession to the EU and NATO … Geopolitically speaking Ukraine is very interesting to the Alliance for the restraining of Russian aggressive aims to destabilise the global situation. Therefore, in this context Ukraine is interesting for NATO,” added Vinnik.
As was reported, in December, 2017, the US President Donald Trump signed the law on the defense budget of the country for 2018. The document provides Ukraine with financial aid to the sum of $350 million for the deterance of external aggression.
Earlier, on October 27th, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of US to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch reminded that over the last three years Ukraine received $750 million of military aid from the United States. On January 16th Yovanovitch noted that Washington will gratuitously provide Ukraine with weapons, including the anti-tank Javelin systems [which still haven’t arrived – ed].
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