Military aid to Ukraine will escalate the crisis and worsen relations with nuclear superpower Russia

September 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC—On Wednesday night, the White House released its hold, pending national security review, on $250 million in military aid to Ukraine following intense pressure from some congressional members. Defense Priorities Policy Director Benjamin H. Friedman issued the following statement in response:

“Despite the politics involved, the United States and Russia jointly possess more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons—it is therefore critical our two nations find a way to co-exist. Taking steps that improve, rather than degrade, the U.S.-Russia relationship enhances U.S. and global security.

“Increased military aid to Ukraine—a nation that is not a U.S. or NATO ally—worsens U.S.-Russia relations without any justifying security payoff for Americans.

“Russia and Ukraine have a long, complicated history—and Russia’s 1,200-mile border with Ukraine means it has a strong security interest there. The United States has no such security or prosperity interests at stake.

“Ukraine cannot match Russia’s capabilities, and sending U.S. military aid may create a dangerous perception in Kiev and Moscow that the United States would support Ukraine in a direct confrontation with Russia. It encourages the continuation of the conflict there, rather than its political resolution.

“Unlike his predecessor, recently elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is attempting to negotiate a peace with Russia and the separatists in the east. Washington should support that process.”