WASHINGTON – The defense budget for 2018, signed by U.S. President Donald Trump, provides $350 million to promote security in Ukraine and authorizes the country to provide lethal weapons, the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States has said.
“President of the United States Donald Trump has signed the law on the U.S. budget for 2018 for national defense, which provides permission to allocate $350 million to provide assistance in the security sphere of Ukraine. The law authorizes the provision of defensive weapons to our state and significantly expands the parameters of Ukraine’s support with the United States in the field of security and defense,” the Embassy of Ukraine said on its Facebook page.
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 contains provisions allowing the use of U.S. defense budget funds for the rehabilitation of wounded Ukrainian military personnel in medical institutions of the United States, education and training of Ukrainian medical specialists in this field, as well as strengthening the capabilities of the air and naval forces of Ukraine.
The diplomatic mission noted that for the first time at the legislative level it is proposed to provide Ukraine with the following defensive means: air and coastal defense radars, naval mine and counter-mine capabilities, and littoral and coastal defense craft.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, said his amendment boosting security assistance for Ukraine was part of the law signed by President Trump. As amended by Sen. Portman’s provisions, which he introduced with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the 2018 NDAA authorizes $350 million in security assistance, including lethal and non-lethal equipment, training, and technical assistance.
The amendment also conditions U.S. aid on progress towards key reforms including instituting civilian control of the military, cooperation and coordination with Ukrainian parliamentary efforts to exercise oversight of the Ministry of Defense and military forces, and improvements in sustainment capabilities, inventory management and security of sensitive foreign technologies.