WASHINGTON (AP) — Casting himself as tough on Russia, former President Donald Trump lowballed the amount of U.S. military aid provided to Ukraine during the Obama-Biden administration and claimed that only he himself in recent history didn’t face a Russian invasion of another country. Not true.
Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, meanwhile, made a suspect claim that all of Ukraine’s weapons now in use came from the Trump administration.
A look at the weekend claims and reality:
TRUMP, comparing military aid in his administration to that under President Barack Obama: “I was the one that sent the Javelins, not Obama. Obama sent blankets.” — rally Saturday in Commerce, Georgia.
PENCE: “The Obama-Biden administration only sent them meals and blankets.” — interview Friday on Fox News Channel.
THE FACTS: Trump and Pence are misrepresenting the amount of aid under Obama and Biden and glossing over their own delays in helping Ukraine.
While the Obama administration refused to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons in 2014 to fight Russian-backed separatists, it offered a range of other military and security aid — not just “blankets.” The administration’s concern was that providing lethal weapons like Javelin anti-tank missiles might provoke Russian President Vladimir Putin to escalate the conflict in the separatist Donbas area of Ukraine near Russia’s border.
By March 2015, the Obama administration had provided more than $120 million in security aid for Ukraine and promised $75 million worth of equipment, including counter-mortar radars, night vision devices and medical supplies, according to the Defense Department. The U.S. also pledged 230 Humvee vehicles.
The U.S. aid offer came after Putin in 2014 annexed Crimea and provided support for separatists in eastern cities.
Ultimately between 2014 and 2016, the Obama administration committed more than $600 million in security aid to Ukraine.
In the last year of the Obama administration, the U.S. established the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which provided U.S. military equipment and training to help defend Ukraine against Russian aggression. From 2016 to 2019, Congress appropriated $850 million for this initiative.