Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration has reportedly frozen the sending of a $100 million military aid package to Ukraine that included lethal weapons.
“The National Security Council directed officials to put the package together, as Washington grew increasingly concerned over a massive Russian military buildup near the border with Ukraine and in the Crimean Peninsula,” Politico reported. “But officials on the National Security Council ended up putting the proposal on hold after Russia announced it would draw down troops stationed near Ukraine and in the lead-up to President Joe Biden’s high-stakes summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
The report said that the aid package still existed and could be sent to Ukraine “quickly,” and The Washington Post said that the admin had not ruled out sending it.
“It was past time to provide more for Ukraine’s defense when Putin began amassing his troops on its border,” Sen. James E. Risch (R-ID), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said. “His drawdown should not have triggered a drawdown of U.S. support.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed that the reports were “nonsense,” saying that the admin had already provided an aid package to Ukraine that had been appropriated by Congress.
“We have also prepared contingency funds in the event of a further Russian incursion into Ukraine,” she said. “As President Biden told President Putin directly, we will stand unwavering in support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
However, the Biden administration waived sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which analysts say will cause significant harm to Ukraine. The Trump administration had taken action to stop Russia from completing the pipeline.
The Atlantic Council wrote:
If the pipeline is completed and becomes operational, the outlook for Ukraine and wider European gas markets will raise concerns. This is not just for the reasons that have been repeatedly quoted, such as Ukraine’s loss of transit revenue and greater exposure to potential Russian military aggression, but also because of fears over supplies to Ukraine’s internal market and the ability of European companies to access Ukrainian storage facilities.
House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik responded to Politico’s story by writing on Twitter: “Where’s Hunter??”
“After this week’s summit, this is an absolute surrender and concession from President Biden to Vladimir Putin and Russia,” Stefanik wrote. “Joe Biden is shamefully turning his back on our Ukrainian allies.”
“Ukraine said it would not accept any arrangements made in Geneva between President Biden and President Vladimir V. Putin on the war, which has been simmering for seven years between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian Army,” The New York Times reported. “The Ukrainian government has in recent years dug in its heels on a policy of rejecting any negotiation without a seat at the table after worry that Washington and Moscow would cut a deal in back-room talks. The approach has remained in place with the Biden administration.”