Jen Psaki denounces postponement of Ukrainian military aid as “nonsense”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki called a report “nonsense” on Friday that the Biden administration had suspended a military aid package for Ukraine worth up to ‘to $ 100 million.

Politico, citing “four people familiar with internal deliberations,” reported earlier today that National Security Council officials had suspended delivery of aid – which included lethal ammunition such as anti-tank weapons and small arms – after the Kremlin announced the withdrawal of some Russian troops from positions along the Ukrainian border at the end of April.

“The idea that we withheld security aid to Ukraine is nonsense,” Psaki said in a statement. “As recently as last week – with the US-Russia summit approaching – we provided a $ 150 million package of security assistance, including deadly assistance. We have now provided the full amount allocated by Congress as part of Ukraine’s security assistance initiative. “

Psaki also noted Biden’s June 14 statement that the United States “will do everything possible to enable Ukraine to continue to resist Russian physical aggression.”

“We have also prepared emergency funds in the event of a further Russian incursion into Ukraine,” Psaki concluded. “As President Biden said [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin directly, we will tirelessly support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The $ 150 million package would provide training, equipment, advisory efforts and improve interoperability with NATO, according to a statement released by the Defense Ministry on June 11.
The $ 150 million package would provide training, equipment, advisory efforts and improved interoperability with NATO, according to a statement released by the Defense Ministry on June 11.
Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The report alarmed Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who tweeted: “Do you remember when the freezing of military aid to Ukraine was an impeachment offense? Hunter, and their business relations in Ukraine.

Republican House Conference Speaker Elise Stefanik (R-NY) charged Biden on Twitter to “shamefully turn your back on our Ukrainian allies”.

Friday marked the second time this week that the White House has denied reports of major foreign policy action involving Ukraine. On Monday, the president denied Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s claim that NATO leaders had “confirmed” that the Eastern European nation would be allowed to join the transatlantic alliance. Russia has long said it sees such a move as a red line.

“It depends on whether they meet the criteria,” Biden said. “The point is, they still have to clean up the corruption. The point is that they have to meet other criteria to enter the action plan. And so, you know, the school is on this issue. That remains to be seen. “

Last month, the White House went so far as to cross out part of a transcript of the words of Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre who had expressed support for Ukraine’s NATO membership. The White House said at the time that Jean-Pierre had “misspoken” and that his comments did not reflect official policy.

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