A new bill submitted to US Congress’s House of Representatives proposes to give Ukraine the status of the US’s chief military and political ally outside of NATO, the Ukrainian Embassy to Washington said in a Facebook post. The status will be in effect until Ukraine joins NATO, and will facilitate the procedure for the US to give defense assistance to Ukraine.
The bill is titled “To provide support to Ukraine to defend its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and for other purposes” and is intended to improve Ukraine’s defensive capabilities, including through the sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces. As part of the arrangement, the Ukrainian military could receive anti-tank, anti-ship and anti-air systems. There are also plans to assist in improving Ukraine’s cybersecurity and ability to resist Russian hacker attacks.
According to the Ukrainian Embassy’s post, the document states that US policy should facilitate enhanced “support of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within the limits established by international principles, as well as through Euro-Atlantic and European integration”. Furthermore, Washington’s policy toward Kyiv should be geared towards “the non-recognition of any territorial changes to Ukraine, made in any way, including through Russia’s illegal invasion of Crimea and the Donbas and occupation of these territories”. In addition, the bill condemns Russia for continuing to hold prisoner the 24 crew members of the Ukrainian ships that were captured near the Kerch Strait last year.