The Biden Administration is withholding $150 million in military aid to Ukraine that was already approved by Congress as part of an effort to pressure the country into making “sufficient progress on key defense reforms this year.”
“The department encourages Ukraine to continue to enact reforms that strengthen civilian control of the military, promote increased transparency and accountability in defense industry and procurement, and modernize its defense sector in other key areas in line with NATO principles and standards,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
The administration announced last month that it would provide only $125 million to Ukraine this year, even though Congress approved a $275 million package for the 2021 budget year.
The withholding of funds comes amid provocative Russian military maneuvers at Ukraine’s borders, One America News Network noted.
Readers may recall that former President Trump caused a media firestorm and was impeached for withholding aid from Ukraine for a short while in 2019.
Democrats alleged that President Trump withheld the funds in an effort to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenky to dig up dirt on his Democrat rival Joe Biden, although a transcript of his phone call with the Ukraine president debunked those claims.
Trump was ultimately acquitted in the Senate, but the media spectacle succeeded in obscuring the growing scandal surrounding the Biden family’s well documented corruption in Ukraine.
Joe Biden in December of 2015 famously pressured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk into firing a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma Holdings, the energy company where his drug-addicted son Hunter sat on the board.
During a trip to Kiev, Biden told the Ukrainians that the United States would withhold a $1 billion US loan guarantee unless they got rid of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.
At the time of his firing, Shokin was allegedly getting ready to investigate Burisma, which “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”
“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden infamously bragged to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.
“Well, son of a bitch. He got fired,” Biden boasted.
Biden famously denied having anything to do with his son’s “overseas business dealings,” but emails found on Hunter Biden’s laptop revealed that he introduced his father—then the vice president—to Vadym Pozharskyi, a top executive at Burisma—months before he pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin.
Shortly after the 2020 election, Ukrainian authorities reportedly closed a criminal probe into the Biden corruption.
The investigation was launched in February 2020 after Shokin appealed in court.
“After interrogation, we found out that in 2016 Shokin resigned from his post voluntarily,” the National Police said in a statement. “During the investigation we did not find any confirmation anyone pressured him to resign.”
Outraged, Shokin said in an interview that the police did not conduct “a single investigative action except for my own interrogation.”
While Biden withholds $150 million from Ukraine, Russia appears to be planning a new incursion into the country.
“The U.S. is attempting to push Ukraine into war…such a war needs to be limited in scale because the U.S. tends to always minimize its risks,” stated Aleksey Podberezkin, director of the Center for Military and Political Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. “They would not engage in it directly, but this is one of their methods to bring collapse to a country and ultimately make leadership of the country give up its sovereignty.”
In a telephone call Tuesday with Vladimir Putin, Biden asked that the Russian President de-escalate its military build-up and requested a peace summit on Ukraine.
Putin reportedly gave Biden “the cold shoulder,” refusing to commit to attending a summit with him.
Biden said that the United States “will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to Russia’s actions,” according to a White House readout of the call.
According to OANN, the $415 million the Trump administration gave Ukraine in 2019 “included lethal weapons that arguably deterred Russian forces from waging war at the time.”