WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Members of the US House of Representatives are asking foreign governments to contribute military assistance to Ukraine along with the United States in a new bill introduced on Tuesday which authorizes the United States to provide lethal and military aid to Kiev amid the ongoing crisis
“The Secretary of Defense may accept and retain contributions, including in-kind contributions, from foreign governments, to provide assistance authorized,” the legislation introduced by by Representatives Adam Smith and Mac Thornberry, both members of the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday read.
If approved, the new House legislation would appropriate $1 billion through September 30, 2017 to give military and lethal assistance to Kiev to defend its “sovereign territory against foreign aggressors,” attacks from “Russian-backed separatists,” and help bring a negotiated settlement “to end the conflict” in Ukraine.
The West has accused Russia of backing militias in the breakaway Ukrainian regions close to its borders in addition to supplying them with weapons, claims that Moscow has repeatedly denied.
Previous legislation was passed by the US Congress and signed into law by US President Barack Obama in December 2014 authorizing $350 million to arm the Ukrainian military. However, the authorization has not been enacted by President Obama who has so far only provided Ukraine with economic and non-lethal military support.
During a press conference on Monday, President Obama stressed that his administration would continue to assess the option of providing military aid to Ukraine.