Ukraine Would Get New Anti-Ship Missiles Under House Bill

 In GDI, Russia, Defense, Sea, Ukraine, Energy, Turkey

Russia would also get new sanc­tions under the House ver­sion of the defense autho­riza­tion bill.

Ukraine would get $300 mil­lion in new mil­i­tary aid — and Russia, sanc­tions on a pro­posed pipeline — in the House ver­sion of the defense autho­riza­tion act passed this week. 

“Both are taken … as an act of sup­port,” Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, said at the German Marshall Fund on Friday.

The bill calls for renew­ing the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, the mil­i­tary aid that con­gress had pre­vi­ous­ly autho­rized for Ukraine, and expands it to include coastal defense cruise mis­siles and anti-ship mis­siles as accept­able for export. It futher autho­rizes an addi­tion­al $50 mil­lion in mil­i­tary aid on top of the $250 mil­lion con­gress had approved in last year’s NDAA, “of which $100.0 mil­lion would be avail­able only for lethal assis­tance.”

The bill also requires the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to impose sanc­tions “with respect to pro­vi­sion of cer­tain ves­sels for the con­struc­tion of cer­tain Russian energy export pipelines” — under­stood to be the Nord Stream II project.

Ukrainian offi­cials have been trying to increase their naval fire­pow­er. In September 2018, Ukraine took pos­ses­sion of two U.S. Coast Guard Island-class cutter ships, part of an effort to push back against increas­ing­ly aggres­sive Russian activ­i­ty in the Black Sea. But the ships came unarmed. Two months later, Russia attacked and seized three Ukrainian war­ships. 

“We will con­tin­ue work­ing on obtain­ing more Island boats of that class and hope­ful­ly with some of the equip­ment that you men­tioned,” said Kuleba, he said in response to a ques­tion from Defense One about the anti-ship mis­siles.

The Ukrainian offi­cial noted House and Senate sup­port for Ukraine. He said he also had met with mem­bers of the National Security Council and the State Department and was going to talk with David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, in the after­noon.

“I will be able to form my full pic­ture of where the admin­is­tra­tion stands on this after all the meet­ings that I hold,” said Kuleba. “But so far, mes­sages are con­struc­tive, in the sense that the NDAA is adopt­ed; the President will sign it; and we will be work­ing with the admin­is­tra­tion on making sure that these pro­vi­sions become real­i­ty.”

Kuleba said that Ukrainian offi­cials were talk­ing with NATO coun­ter­parts on ways they could work more close­ly with other nations to deter Russian activ­i­ty in the Black Sea, where Russia has built a heavy mil­i­tary pres­ence in the past couple of years.

“We have to have a talk with NATO, for exam­ple, on the Black Sea secu­ri­ty. We always make the point that, it’s good you have three member states in the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, but if you really want to create strate­gic bal­ance against Russia in the Black Sea you cannot achieve that with­out align­ing with Ukraine and Georgia,” he said.

The issue of lethal aid to Ukraine was not with­out con­tro­ver­sy even before it became a key aspect of the impeach­ment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Following Russia’s 2014 ille­gal annex­a­tion of Crimea and its attacks on the Donbass region of Ukraine, the Obama admin­is­tra­tion pro­vid­ed mil­lions in aide to the coun­try includ­ing radios, drones and other capa­bil­i­ties but stopped short of pro­vid­ing the lethal anti-tank weapons that the Ukranians sought. During the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the Trump cam­paign removed a por­tion of the Republican Party plat­form that sup­port­ed allow­ing the U.S. gov­ern­ment to pro­vide the weapons. In 2017, the Senate voted to give Javelin anti-tank mis­sile sys­tems to Ukraine, a bill that Trump signed.

GOP law­mak­ers have recent­ly put for­ward base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, as part of their defense of President Trump, that Ukraine may have attempt­ed to inter­fere in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.  

Kuleba said that his dis­cus­sions with law­mak­ers as well as State Department and White House offi­cials over the last few days had empha­sized what he called “fair treat­ment,” for Ukraine. “We don’t want to be shamed and blamed” he said. “Ukraine is a nat­ur­al ally. Ukraine is part of this part of the world…We stand for the same things.”

Source: Defense One

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