Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new $100 million military aid package to Ukraine on Sunday while visiting Israel. The latest security assistance will include armored vehicles for Ukrainian police and border guards.
The US labeled the donation – which also includes secure personal protection equipment, tactical and communications equipment, and medical supplies – as civilian security assistance.
“With the US government’s vital assistance, Ukrainian law enforcement officers are playing a key role in rescuing victims of the Russian government’s brutal assault, leading and protecting convoys of those displaced by attacks, and providing security to civilian areas torn apart by ruthless and devastating bombing,” Blinken said.
While the US highlights the equipment’s potential civilian uses, the communications devices and armored vehicles could be deployed in combat. The Ukrainian government has touted its ability to militarize its civilian population.
The US did not say if the police forces would be vetted before receiving equipment. One potential concern would be the white supremacist C14 gang. The group created a municipal guard that patrols the streets of Keiv.
Blinken revealed the new aid package in Israel. He arranged a conference in the Israeli desert that included some of America’s Arab allies. While the Iran deal was a central subject of the meeting, the New York Times reports, Ukraine was “foremost” on Blinken’s mind. America’s top diplomat said Ukraine was “very much a part of the conversation.”
Many states in the Middle East have declined to sanction Russia. Tel Aviv is playing a key role in negotiations between Keiv and Moscow. Blinken noted Israel’s diplomatic role and prised the humanitarian assistance it has donated to Keiv. However, he made it clear he was still seeking more from Washington’s Mid East partners. “We will be talking throughout about various means of support that Israel and other countries can give to Ukraine,” said Blinken.
On Sunday, the Secretary of State also reiterated that President Joe Biden was not calling for regime change in Moscow when he said, “For God’s sake, this man [Putin] cannot remain in power.” However, the proposal to remove Russian President Vladimir Putin did find some support in Washington.
Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the US, stated Putin is a war criminal who “cannot remain in power.”
“We clearly understand in Ukraine that anyone who’s a war criminal, who attacks a neighboring country, who’s doing all these atrocities together with all the Russians that are involved definitely cannot stay in power in a civilized world,” the diplomat said.