The draft defense budget envisages the allocation of aid to Ukraine in the sphere of security and support programme of the Baltic States to deter Russian aggression
Representatives of the Senate and house of representatives agreed to allocate $ 4.6 billion in the European initiative of deterrence, aimed at countering the aggressive policy of Russia in Europe and the strengthening of the combat capability of the United States on the continent.
This amount is contained in appropriations bill for national defense to 2018, agreed with senators John McCain and Jack reed, the Republican Chairman and senior Democrat of the Senate Committee on armed forces, and Chairman of a similar Committee of the house of representatives by Congressman Mac Thornberry.
The senators noted that “after a revanchist Russian aggression against Ukraine,” the Congress in 2015, has sanctioned the creation of a “European reassurance initiative” to counter Russia’s actions. But now lawmakers believe that this application should be attributed to the defence budget “as soon as possible”.
In a situation when a cease-fire in Eastern Ukraine remains unstable, the committees authorized the allocation of $ 500 million for assistance to Ukraine in the security sphere, “including lethal defensive assistance character.”
However, the bill provides for a ban on the allocation of half that amount as long as the Minister of defense confirms that Ukraine has taken significant measures to implement institutional reforms in the field of defense necessary to maintain the capacity created by using the assistance in the security sphere.
“We are very proud of this bill, which will strengthen our armed forces, will allow to increase the salaries of our military, strengthen missile defense, will bring innovation into our military technology to ensure our global benefits and will help to develop reforms in the defense sector, approved by Congress in recent years, – reads the statement of the legislators. – Most importantly, this bill will help to reverse the dangerous readiness crisis that endangers our men and women wearing a military uniform”.
The bill also authorizes up to $ 100 million to support joint programmes of the Baltic countries to improve their resilience and capacity to contain Russian aggression.
The document authorizes the allocation of $ 65 million for a programme of research and development of medium-range missiles, land-based, “to begin to close the gap, resulting from the violation by Russia of the INF Treaty, but this was not a breach of the agreement by the United States.”
He requests a report on the Russian hybrid war in the annual report on the state of the Russian armed forces and security, including the assessment of the Russian strategy and the potential of information warfare, malicious activity in cyberspace and coercive measures of an economic nature.
The document also extends the prohibition on the use of funds of the Ministry of defence in order for bilateral military cooperation with Russia.
It also prohibits the defence Ministry to use the software of the Russian company “Kaspersky Lab” because of reports that it may be vulnerable to the influence of the Russian government.
“We are also proud of the bipartisan process that resulted in the agreed bill that demanded hard work and meaningful collaboration between representatives of the two parties, said the legislators. Now, when this bill goes to a final vote and the direction of the President, we are confident that he will continue a bipartisan tradition of supporting the brave men and women of our armed forces and let them solve the challenges they face in our increasingly dangerous world.”