The House approved National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will include $300 million in new military aid to Ukraine. The bill also calls for mandatory sanctions on any company involved in the Nord Stream 2 project, a natural gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany.
Congress approved $250 million in military aid to Ukraine in last year’s NDAA, this year’s will add another $50 million. On top of previously approved lethal aid, the new NDAA will include new anti-ship missiles and coastal defense cruise missiles.
New reports say that $20 million of the $250 million in military aid President Trump released to Ukraine in September is still in US accounts. With Ukraine’s military aid being at the center of the impeachment inquiry, this $20 million hold-up is being portrayed as scandalous.
But the holding of the $20 million could be a matter of the Pentagon not spending the money yet, not something ordered by Trump. A senior Trump official told The Hill, “Any questions about money that has remained unspent is something that [the Pentagon] will have to address. The ball’s in their court on that.”
President Trump seems excited about the new NDAA and said in a tweet, “don’t delay this anymore! I will sign this historic defense legislation immediately!”
Completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would be a big hit to Ukraine’s energy sector, since it would bring gas directly to Germany that is now transported through Ukraine. Estimates put the cost of lost transit fees to Ukraine at $2 billion.
After the House passed the NDAA, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted, “Ukraine is grateful for 337 votes to support sanctions related to #NordStream2 construction. This is a political project that undermines energy security of #Europe.”