Washington / Kyiv / Moscow – The US Department of Defence has announced a defence aid of $150 million to Ukraine. This includes counter-drone systems, counter artillery radar, secure communication gear and electronic warfare system. This is the second time in the last three months that the United States has announced defence assistance to Ukraine. US President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the next week. Hence, against this background, the announcement of defence assistance to Ukraine becomes noteworthy.
Russia was declared the worst enemy of the United States after Joe Biden took over as the US President. He then took an aggressive stance on the Crimea issue, warning that the United States would never recognise Russia’s control. Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified that the United States would stand by Ukraine against Russia’s aggression and provide considerable defence assistance. The announcement made by the Department of Defence on Friday seems to be a part of that.
The US Department of Defence had allocated 275 million dollars as defence aid to Ukraine in the 2021 budget. Out of that, 12.5 million dollars were announced in March. It included armed patrol boats and radars. The assistance announced on Friday appears to be the remainder of the provision made in the budget. The new $150 million announcement includes counter-drone systems, counter artillery radar, secure communication gear and electronic warfare systems.
A statement issued in this regard asserted that Ukraine is taking appropriate steps to reform the defence sector. The timing of the Pentagon’s declaration regarding Ukraine is striking. Next week, US President Biden will be meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin. This visit is considered to be necessary for US-Russia relations. Biden has indicated that this visit will trigger several issues that could put Russia in a difficult position. By announcing Ukraine’s defence assistance, the Biden administration seems to be signalling that it is ready to challenge Russia openly.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of his meeting with the US President, he said that Russia-United States relations have reached a standstill. In an interview with NBC News, Putin was asked to comment on Biden’s use of the word ‘killer.’ While commenting on that, President Putin stated that he does not care much about it.