In a move that brought to mind the first impeachment charges against President Trump, the Biden White House froze a $100 million military aid package for Ukraine that includes lethal weapons.
The announcement came two days after President Biden’s meeting with Ukraine’s archfoe, Russian President Vladimir Putin, prompting accusations of a “quid pro quo.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., reacted on Twitter: “Remember when freezing military aid to Ukraine was an impeachable offense?”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it “another gift to Russia.”
“We helped Ukraine defend itself, but Biden is now taking us ‘back’ to American weakness and apologies,” he said.
In May, after the cyber attack on the U.S. electric grid that was blamed on Russian operatives, Biden decided not to sanction the Russian company building a natural gas pipeline to Europe. Biden said sanctions would be “counterproductive in terms of our European relations.”
The plan to aid Ukraine was made in the spring in response to aggressive troop movements along the Russian border with Ukraine and in the Crimean Peninsula, Politico reported, citing three sources who were part of internal discussions.
State Department and Pentagon officials put together the proposal, but the National Security Council paused it after Russia announced it would draw down troops ahead of the Biden-Putin summit.
The U.S. has provided some $2.5 billion in military aid to Kiev since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.
In 2019, Democrats accused Trump of engaging in a quid pro quo when the U.S. temporarily halted the delivery of lethal aid to Ukraine at the same time Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation of Hunter Biden’s business deals in the country while his father was vice president.
Russia is vehemently opposed to Ukraine’s proposed admission to NATO.
Asked about the country’s admission status at a press conference
Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine “is an aspirant country.”
“We provide support to them, especially to continue to modernize and refine their defense and security institutions, civilian-political control over their security services, and not least fighting corruption,” he said.
Biden said during his press conference after the summit that the U.S. would “do all that we can to put Ukraine in the position to be able to continue to resist Russian physical aggression.”
Remember when freezing military aid to Ukraine was an impeachable offense? https://t.co/Ci5FEpHv7j
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 18, 2021
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