Portman Praises Department of Defense Announcement of $250 Million of Security Assistance to Ukraine

Last Month, Portman Visited Ukraine to Meet with New President, Military & Business Leaders

June 19, 2019 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), co-founder and co-chairman of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, praised the announcement from the U.S. Department of Defense that it was providing Ukraine with a $250 million package of security assistance.  Just three weeks ago, Portman visited Ukraine to meet with newly-elected Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak, Minister of Finance Oksana Markarova, and other Ukrainian leaders.  During his visit, Portman congratulated the new government on its peaceful, free, and fair elections, pledged continued support from the U.S. Senate, and encouraged them to continue the anti-corruption efforts and structural reforms of the economy and the military.  He issued the following statement on the announcement of additional security assistance: 

“I am pleased to see the Trump administration provide another large package of critical security assistance to Ukraine. This package, which totals $250 million and brings total U.S. security assistance to Ukraine since 2014 to $1.5 billion, provides important lethal and non-lethal assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces to help them defend Ukraine’s sovereignty from Russian aggression on land and at sea. Among many other items, this package includes sniper rifles for Ukraine’s land forces, maritime situational awareness equipment for the Ukrainian Navy, and more. Importantly, half of this package was conditioned on the implementation of critical defense sector reforms – it was only released once Ukraine took significant steps to strengthen civilian control over the military.

“As co-founder of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, I have consistently worked to broaden and strengthen U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, including authorizing additional types of security assistance and conditioning aid on Ukraine’s implementation of crucial national security and defense sector reforms. I am glad to see this announcement from the administration, and I will continue to push for more U.S. assistance to bolster the Ukrainian Armed Forces and deter Russian aggression.”

NOTE:  Senator Portman, who received the Order of Merit from former President Petro Poroshenko during his visit to Ukraine in 2018 and received the Ukrainian-American community’s highest honor in 2016, the Shevchenko Freedom Award, has long led the effort in the Senate to provide Ukraine the kind of assistance necessary to ward off Russian aggression and maintain its territorial integrity. The co-founder and co-chairman of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Portman has visited Ukraine several times, including just last month and in April 2018 to see firsthand evidence of Russian aggression on the line of contact and leading a congressional election observation mission with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) during Ukraine’s Presidential election in 2014.  

For the past three years, Portman has successfully introduced amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that expanded U.S. military aid to Ukraine. These provisions helped build the primary statutory framework for U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. In addition, he has repeatedly written letters, delivered multiple floor speeches, and pressed senior administration officials on the importance of providing meaningful assistance to help Ukraine stand up to Russia’s military aggression, and has praised its recent decisions to provide lethal assistance to the country. 

Portman joined the international community in condemning the sham “elections” that were held in Russian-controlled Eastern Ukraine last November. Later that month, when ships belonging to the Russian security services attacked three Ukrainian Navy vessels near the Kerch Strait, Portman led 11 of his Senate Ukraine Caucus colleagues in condemning this unprovoked aggression. 

For his efforts to support Ukraine, Portman was recognized with the Order Of St. Volodymyr Medal from Ukrainian Patriarch Filaret. Portman also championed the bipartisan resolution marking the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor, passed by the Senate in October 2018.