By DoD News
By David Vergun
The Defense Department’s objective regarding Ukraine is to ensure the existence of a free, prosperous and democratic Ukraine that can defend itself and deter further Russian aggression, said Laura K. Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, who testified Thursday at a House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee hearing on assessing U.S. policy towards Europe and NATO.
“Ukraine is attempting to liberate its territory from Russian occupation or control, including in the latest counter-offensive. Ukraine is well prepared and equipped. Although the course of war is dynamic and unpredictable, we do have great confidence in the training capabilities and preparedness of the Ukrainian armed forces,” she said.
“Russia’s war of aggression is a clear and present danger not only to Ukraine, but to the security of Europe, and to the basic principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity that uphold global stability,” Cooper said.
The group of some 50 nations in the Ukraine Defense Contact Group have collectively addressed Ukraine’s priority requirements and requests, both for the immediate fight and for the longer term, she said.
Over $28 billion in security assistance commitments from allies and partners has been provided, including in top priority areas of air defense armor and artillery. Nine European countries have contributed more than $1 billion each, she said.
Security assistance to Ukraine as a percentage of gross domestic product puts the U.S. as 12th ranked globally. Over half of all the tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, 155 mm artillery systems and counter-unmanned aerial systems and about half the stinger and javelin missiles provided to Ukraine are from allies and partners not from the United States, Cooper said.
Allies have trained more than three times the number of Ukrainian soldiers that the United States has trained, she added.
Germany and Poland are collaborating to provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks, as well as the training, maintenance and sustainment for those tanks. The Netherlands and Denmark are collaborating to set up training for Ukrainian pilots to fly fourth-generation aircraft, she said.
Also, allies are starting to make longer term commitments. Germany has authorized about $13 billion in support to Ukraine over the next 9 to 10 years, Norway has committed over $7 billion, and Denmark recently announced $3.2 billion, she said.
There’s growing collaboration between the United States and partners on industrial production, both to support Ukraine and to replenish DOD stocks, she said.
The department recognizes the importance of prioritizing the accountability of Ukraine security assistance, she said. “To date, we have not seen credible evidence of the illicit diversion of U.S.-provided advanced conventional weapons, although Russia continues to spread disinformation to the contrary.”
DOD continues to use monitoring measures in Ukraine to track sensitive U.S. weapon systems and to proactively prevent arms proliferation, she added.