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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live: Day 277
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Despite Biden's Visit, US Will Not Provide Lethal Aid To Ukraine
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As we reported yesterday, US Vice President Joe Biden is in Kiev, and he has announced a new aid package to Ukraine. But there is already significant controversy, as the aid package of $20 million does not include any lethal aid.

An excerpt from the statement which also includes a list of examples of US aid to Ukraine:

The United States remains firmly committed to supporting Ukraine as it works to establish security, restore economic stability, strengthen the rule of law, advance the fight against corruption, and carry out democratic and constitutional reforms. The United States stands with the Ukrainian people and their choice of democracy, reform, and European integration.

In pursuit of these objectives, Vice President Joe Biden announced today in Kyiv, Ukraine that, pending approval from Congress, the White House will commit $20 million to support comprehensive reform in the Ukrainian law enforcement and justice sectors, including prosecutorial and anti-corruption reforms. The Vice President also announced that the U.S. will be directing an additional $3 million to the UN World Food Program emergency operation in Ukraine for food rations and assistance to people displaced by the conflict in eastern Ukraine and other vulnerable populations.

Including these announcements, the U.S. government has now committed nearly $320 million in assistance to Ukraine this year, in addition to the $1 billion sovereign loan guarantee issued in May 2014. The United States stands ready to continue to work with our partners to provide Ukraine with sufficient financing as it stabilizes its economy and carries out urgently needed reforms.

The United States will continue to work with Congress to identify additional opportunities for U.S. assistance to Ukraine. For example, the Administration has requested from Congress an additional $45 million as part of the President’s European Reassurance Initiative that would help build Ukraine’s capacity to provide for its own defense and increase interoperability with U.S. and Western forces.

Beyond the various programs to assist Ukraine establish civil society and carry out economic and political reforms, the United States is committed to providing training and (non-lethal) equipment to Ukraine. Included in the US assistance is " body armor, helmets, vehicles, night and thermal vision devices, heavy engineering equipment, advanced radios, patrol boats, rations, tents, counter-mortar radars, uniforms, first aid equipment and supplies, and other related items."

Noticeably missing -- drones to better target artillery and rocket strikes, and obviously any lethal aid.

Biden also criticized Russia and insisted that it honor and implement the Minsk agreement:

Yet then Biden recognizes that Russia has violated that same agreement:

Many are questioning Biden's logic here. If the path forward is to have Russia and its "proxies" abide by the Minsk agreement, and Russia and it's proxies are not doing that, then what about this aid package will change Russia's thinking? In fact, an article tweeted by the US Embassy in Kiev today, written by the BBC, quotes US officials who recognize that this new aid package is "an expansion of American support for Ukraine's armed forces, but not something that was likely to significantly alter the outcome of the conflict."

And as another commenter on Ukraine points out, the US is spending nearly $10 million a day to fight ISIS, and about $212 million a day to wage war in Afghanistan. This $20 million package, or even the total $320 million the US has committed to Ukraine, is hardly sending a clear message to Moscow -- nor to Kiev.