US Authorizes $300Mln in Lethal Defensive Aid, Training to Ukraine - McCain

© Sputnik / Stringer / Go to the mediabankUS military instructors arrive in Ukraine
US military instructors arrive in Ukraine - Sputnik International
The United States authorized providing Ukraine defensive lethal aid and training that the country needs to protect its sovereignty, US Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman John McCain said in a press conference.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — McCain noted the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 also provides equipment supplies and training to Southeast Asian nations to build maritime capabilities.

“We authorized providing Ukraine and the defensive lethal assistance that it needs to build combat capability to defend its sovereign territory.” 

“We authorized 300 million dollars for weapons for Ukraine.”

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (L) welcomes a serviceman during a welcome ceremony for first plane from United State with non-lethal aid including ten Humvee vehicles to Ukraine at Borispol airport near Kiev, March 25, 2015 - Sputnik International
US Defense Budget Authorizes $200Mln of Lethal Defensive Aid to Ukraine
The Senator had said earlier he was "ashamed" of US President Barack Obama for not providing enough help to Ukraine amid the ongoing crisis in the country.

McCain had repeatedly called on the Obama administration to deliver weapons to Ukraine as the Kiev government forces carried out a military operation against the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk in the country's east.

Earlier in the day, the draft of the US defense budget for 2016 was approved by the US Senate Armed Services Committee.

The 2016 defense authorization bill, totaling $612 billion, was passed by a 22-4 vote during a closed-door discussion.

It is yet the subject for consideration of the Senate, the upper house of the US Congress.

US and Ukrainian soldiers attend an opening ceremony of the joint Ukrainian-US military exercise 'Fearless Guardian' at the Yavoriv training ground - Sputnik International
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Washington has also provided training for the Ukrainian servicemen. In particular, a year after the beginning of the armed conflict, the US Army announced that some 300 US paratroopers arrived in the western Ukraine city of Yavoriv to train Ukrainian troops.

In February, the Republican-held US House of Representatives introduced a bill that would authorize $1 billion in funds for training, equipping, and providing lethal defensive military aid to Ukraine through September 2017.

Russia called the legislation provocative, warning that such an approach could escalate violence in Ukraine. The United States has so far refrained from providing Ukraine with lethal weapons.

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