WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US House of Representatives introduced new legislation authorizing military and lethal aid to Ukraine through 2017, according to a US Congress announcement.
The bill, introduced by Representatives Adam Smith and Mac Thornberry, both members of the House Armed Services Committee, aims to secure Ukraine’s “sovereign territory against foreign aggressors,” and defend Ukrainians from attacks by “Russian-backed separatists,” according to the legislation. Additionally, the bill calls for having a negotiated settlement to “end the conflict” in Ukraine.
The West has repeatedly accused Russia of backing militias in the breakaway Ukrainian regions close to its borders, and supplying them with weapons, claims Moscow has denied.
The legislation states that no more than 10 percent of the funds can be “obligated or expended until not later than 15 days after” the secretaries of Defense and State submit a report detailing the description of the plan for providing assistance to Ukraine.
The plan that the secretaries are to submit would detail the types of training and equipment and the number of US Armed Forces will be involved and training locations.
Smith noted that while the funds still need to be appropriated by the Congress, the new piece of legislation “definitely pushes it [provision of lethal weapons] further than previous pieces of legislation.”
House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry said at a Tuesday press conference that the legislation will likely be met with bipartisan support on the Senate side.
“I detect no disagreement at all that we should do this,” Thornberry said of his colleagues in the Senate giving their support to providing lethal defensive aid to Ukraine.
Previous legislation 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.