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Uncle Sam in Ukraine—2020. How the United States helps Ukraine with defense

Photo: David Mark/Pixabay

Photo: David Mark/Pixabay


The total amount of US aid to Ukraine under the wing of Congress in 2020 amounted to almost $700 million.

Through several active programs (Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, Department of Defense Appropriation Act 2020, and State Foreign Operations and related programs), the State Department brings military assistance to our country, including lethal assistance, personnel training services, cyber security, and conducts construction work.

In addition, Ukraine broke its own record in FMS (Foreign Military Sales) last fiscal year with an agreement worth $510 million. However, it cannot be viewed as direct deliveries—this deal is closer to an open portfolio of military products. It can be fulfilled during several years—according to the production plan or as the tranches for its payment are received.

But in any case, the amount is serious. Ukraine spends a little more than $ 700 million a year on repairs and purchases for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Both deliveries through the Pentagon and foreign military sales are still our other budget for the acquisition of equipment.

How does this aid affect Ukraine? Where are the points of leverage directed? What does the United States want to achieve by investing significant funds here during the crisis—in terms of amounts it is still not Israel, but is already close enough to Jordan. What opportunities does this give to our country? Kirill Danilchenko—for The Page.



  • Communication is the nervous system of any modern army. In the last year alone, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and National Guard of Ukraine were supplied with communications equipment worth $55 million. Digital protected VHF stations—both knapsack and transport, sets of mast systems, batteries, antennas, and headset.

Plus satellite systems for senior staffs—judging by their increased number in the range of supplies, Ukraine leased a satellite from NATO and received a channel. The ability to maintain control and secure communications, including voice and text, provides a strategic advantage.

In addition, the SATCOM program, when NATO "space" countries share their technologies with allies, will be extended to Ukraine in the foreseeable future.

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  • Reconnaissance—satellite, intelligence and with the help of strategic UAV RQ-4 Global Hawk from a base in Sicily. By partnering with the enhanced capabilities of the Alliance alongside Georgia, Jordan, and Sweden, Ukraine has gained access to "the rapid exchange of information and intelligence."

A couple of times a month, "birds" with 40-meter wings take off from the Sigonella base and circle over the line of contact in Donbass, monitoring logistics, radar and air defense systems work, rotations and much more. The ability to analyze images from satellites and Global Hawk radar, that will be beyond the reach of any potential enemy in the region, is invaluable in terms of containing escalation and stability in Eastern Europe.

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  • Lethal weapons—for Ukraine it all started with sniper rifles or storage technology of the former Warsaw Pact, limited to rations and tents.

Last year, the third generation of the FGM-148E Javelin "fire-forget" anti-tank systems and 150 missiles for them entered quite routinely. And this spring, 5 "Island" boats from the United States will be commissioned along with the guns from Uncle Sam.

And the ordered Mark VI boats (those that the United States produced for itself as of 2021 in the amount of 12 pieces, and plan to deliver 16 to us)—there are intensive discussions about equipping them with high-precision missiles.

Coastal defense, anti-tank weapons (which our opponents don't have not and will not have for many years) and negotiations on missile defense elements—the direction of movement inspires optimism.

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  • Infrastructure—the soldiers of the US 133rd Construction Battalion, back in 2019, restored the airfield in Mykolaiv, changing the runway, and in October 2020, the construction units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces received special equipment for repairs (compressors, jackhammers, generators).

Active work is also underway on the fleet base in Ochakiv and Pivdenne: diving and hydrographic work, reconstruction of berths and piers. Moreover, it is unambiguously clear that after Sea Breeze 2020 and "United Effort 2020", both the operations center and the runways are being expanded for direct interaction with the Alliance.

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In addition, direct supplies to the troops of armored vehicles for the Special Forces Detachments, boats for the air assault company of the marines battalion, diving equipment, ambulances, counter-battery radars, night vision devices and optics.

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In general, the US continues to adhere to its new National Defense Strategy, that views China and the Russian Federation as the two main subjects of "interstate strategic competition." Conflicts with them can look like a confrontation in the "gray zone", cyberattacks or continental war.

Increasing defense allocations for the defence of allies in the Alliance to at least 2% of GDP, supporting allies outside NATO and containing the growing ambitions of Beijing and Moscow are tasks announced by Washington back in 2018.

Strengthening Ukraine's capabilities in anti-tank warfare, communications, reconnaissance, sanitary evacuation, counter-propaganda, infrastructure, and coastal defense are long-term operational goals.

And the fact that the new administration and the new Secretary of State Antony Blinken are in favor of strengthening assistance to Ukraine, including lethal weapons, is a signal that this is not a situational decision. Kyiv gets technologies, equipment, and infrastructure, the US gets stability on NATO's eastern flank.

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