White House Halted Lethal Aid Package to Ukraine Before Joe Biden Visit with Vladimir Putin

TOPSHOT - US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they
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President Joe Biden’s White House halted a proposed package of lethal aid to Ukraine, according to a Politico report.

State Department officials and the Pentagon worked to develop the aid proposal before the White House National Security Council put it on hold ahead of Biden’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The package’s development came in response to Russia’s massive military buildup near the Ukrainian border earlier in 2020, and would have been worth up to $100 million, according to Politico.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing “people familiar with the decision,” that the Biden administration tabled the aid package after Russia said in April they would reduce the number of troops on the border.

Biden officials estimated in May that 80,000 Russian troops remain on the border of Ukraine, the New York Times noted.
Biden began his presidency with a series of high-stakes diplomatic signals to Russia and conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s troop buildup alarmed Ukranian officials, as it echoed the movements prior to the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The United States considered including short-range air defense systems, small arms, and anti-tank weapons, Politico reported, but those plans are now on hold.


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