US Sends Military Aid To Reassure Untested Ukraine President

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 20th June, 2019) A new military aid package the US Defense Department is sending Kiev is meant to reassure Ukraine’s inexperienced new president that he has the backing of Washington, President of the Global Policy Institute, Paolo von Schirach told Sputnik.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that $250 million of additional military aid would be disbursed to Kiev to strengthen the capacity of the Ukrainian armed forces. The aid comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy secured a landslide victory in April to oust incumbent Petro Poroshenko.

“This untested Ukrainian president who has absolutely zero policy experience… [knows] Kiev at least now has the reassurance that Washington is on its side,” Schirach, President of the Global Policy Institute and Professor of International Affairs at Bay Atlantic University, said.

Schirach said that although the aid is unlikely to change the balance of power on the battlefield, Ukraine will continue to pay a heavy price because it has devoted extremely scarce resources to national security as opposed to trying to fix its semi-comatose economy or grappling with endemic corruption.

The aid package also underscores that President Donald Trump’s administration has taken backing Ukraine militarily very seriously.

“This move is politically significant. During the Obama administration, the White House pretended that the Ukrainian crisis did not exist. The Trump administration recognizes the problem and clearly sided with Kiev,” Schirach said.

The newly-released military aid package brings total US security assistance to Ukraine to $1.5 billion since 2014, according to the Pentagon.

Russian officials have repeatedly warned Washington that sending weapons to Ukraine will only escalate the conflict in the country’s east and lead to more bloodshed.