HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — On February 24, 2022, Russia carried out a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine. Since then, the conflict between the two has become increasingly intense, which, according to the United Nations, brought on the deaths of approximately 3,000 Ukrainians as well as displacement of more than 7 million. Moreover, 5 million people have fled to neighboring countries, especially Poland, a NATO member. In this sense, in addition to many other aid programs, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R.2471), which became law on March 15, 2022, strengthened U.S. support for Ukraine in the Russia-Ukraine war.
US Support to Ukraine
In response to the Russia-Ukraine war, the U.S. Government declared its pathway to accompanying Ukraine. “In this time of uncertainty, we have a clear way forward: Help Ukraine defend itself. Support the Ukrainian people. Hold Russia accountable,” said Antony John Blinken, Secretary of State, at a Press Availability on March 2, 2022.
At present, USAID (the United States Agency for International Development) is offering help to Ukraine in a variety of domains for a stronger, more democratic, more prosperous Ukraine and as the delivery of the Revolution of Dignity’s promise:
- Local Governance: In support of displaced Ukrainians, USAID’s programs are working with local authorities and small businesses. For instance, the department has helped Lviv, Zakarpattia and Rivne provide places to sleep for more than 1,500 people. It also backs local businesses to produce necessities such as beds, mattresses, pillows, sleeping bags and non-perishable food.
- Cybersecurity: The Cybersecurity Program gave Ukraine 5,175 Starlink satellite terminals with unlimited Internet service and 1,200 satellite phones to guarantee smooth communications for state agencies and public service providers.
- Energy: The Energy Program supplies satellite imagery for Ukraine’s electricity transmission system operator to effectively fix impaired power lines and towers. Thanks to the program, Ukraine has synchronized with the European electricity grid.
- Media: The Media Activity has sent more than 210 well-trained journalists to Ukraine. By providing 148 national and local media entities, the program assists in targeting disinformation while sharing credible data to raise public awareness. With its support, Ukraine’s independent public service broadcaster reached 1 million subscribers through Telegram.
- Health: USAID has spent $6 million on antiretroviral drugs for 150,000 HIV/AIDS patients. The Ministry of Health gets aid from the program in supply chain and logistics, medicine needs management and the cybersecurity of health information systems.
Regarding military aid, March 2022 witnessed the daily delivery of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine from the U.S., consisting of anti-tank and anti-air systems, helicopters, drones, grenade launchers and more than 50 million rounds of ammunition. The Defense Department expended $1 billion on supplemental resources to bolster NATO’s eastern flank and security posture to mitigate Russia’s barbarism.
The U.S. and its allies have been promoting accountability for Russia. Its actions embrace imposing powerful sanctions on Russia’s major financial institutions and its sovereign wealth fund, barring the country from seeking outside funds for the war, banning Russian imports of key technologies and confronting Russian and Belarusian elites’ financial networks and assets. The U.S. makes sure Russia pays a heavy economic and diplomatic cost for its brutality.
Consolidated Appropriations Act
The U.S. is the most generous single-country donor of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Since Russia first plagued Ukraine eight years ago, the country has so far supported the latter with approximately $653 million in humanitarian assistance, including about $302 million this year, according to the U.S. Department of State.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act enriched the humanitarian aid particularly as well as other aid the U.S. gave Ukraine during the Russia-Ukraine war. In its division N- Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act- among 34 divisions, the Congress approved a $14 billion grant as the continuity of U.S. support to Ukraine in the Russia-Ukraine war. The sum comprises:
- $4 billion in humanitarian aid, namely food and shelter, for refugees from Ukraine
- $3.5 billion in governmental initiatives
- Funds for efficient military support to Ukraine, twice as much as the administration’s request
- $3 billion to strengthen activities from the Department of Defense in the nation
- $650 million in foreign military budgets for Ukraine and eastern flank NATO allies
The Act enjoys bipartisan support. This allows Federal agencies to be able to respond rapidly and effectively to the desperate and evolving needs of the Ukrainian people in the Russia- Ukraine war.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed in the House of Foreign Affairs on June 29, 2021. On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the bill and it officially became law.
In conclusion, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R.2471), along with numerous other programs, has proved U.S. firm commitments to help Ukraine in the Russia-Ukraine war. These promise an optimistic outcome for Ukraine as well as a closer than ever relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine.
– Lan Nguyen