US approves defense budget amendment to train Ukrainian pilots
The US House of Representatives has approved an amendment to the 2023 defense budget bill to train Ukrainian pilots on F-15 and F-16 fighter jets amid the rocky crisis in Ukraine , said the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak on Friday.
The Ukrainian pilot training program will cost US$100 million, Yermak said, adding that the bill must be passed by the US Senate and then signed by US President Joe Biden to take effect. According to Xinhua reports, Ukraine Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova said that the 2023 US defense budget bill envisages allocating Ukraine 1 billion security assistance dollars in fiscal year 2023, which runs from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023.
US security assistance to Ukraine has totaled more than $6.1 billion since Russia launched its “brutal, unprovoked, large-scale invasion” of Ukraine on February 24.
Earlier, condemning Russia’s “premeditated, unprovoked, unjustified and brutal war” against Ukraine, Blinken said the United States would continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons to defend itself and the constant flow of U.S. coalition security assistance of more than 40 Allies and partners will continue to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses as well as improve its ability to defend its sovereign territory and achieve hard-fought victories on the battlefield .
“We have imposed swift and severe sanctions on the Russian economy and the elite of President Putin’s regime. We have strengthened NATO’s ability to deter and defend against any Russian aggression on its eastern flank. And we will continue to provide crucial military capabilities to the brave Ukrainian defenders,” he said in the official statement.
Additionally, Washington, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in coordination with the United States Department of the Treasury, has also contributed $1.7 billion in budget support to the Ukraine as part of President Joe Biden’s pledge to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
This contribution was made possible by the generous bipartisan support of Congress. These resources have helped the Ukrainian government continue to carry out its essential functions – for example, ensuring the delivery of gas and electricity to hospitals, schools and other essential infrastructure, supporting the delivery of humanitarian supplies to citizens and continue to pay the salaries of civil servants and teachers.
Since Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, USAID has worked closely with humanitarian partners in the country and region to provide Ukrainians with life-saving humanitarian assistance. Aid is also increasing essential development assistance to respond to cyberattacks and threats to the energy sector, combat misinformation, support small businesses and the agricultural sector, document human rights abuses, meet essential health needs and ensure the continued functioning of and national government entities of the war-ravaged nation.
Notably, Russia launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24, which the West called an unprovoked war. As a result, Western countries have also imposed several crippling sanctions on Moscow.
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