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Reports: Trump mulling suspension of military aid to Ukraine

Ukrainian Navy Capt. Andrii Ryzhenko, deputy chief of staff of the Ukrainian Navy for Europe-Atlantic Integration, delivers remarks to Sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 at a ribbon cutting ceremony during exercise Sea Breeze 2019 in Ochakiv, Ukraine, July 8, 2019. Sea Breeze is a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise held in the Black Sea and is designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen maritime security and peace within the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Bigley)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. President Donald Trump is considering blocking $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, Western media report.

Citing senior administration officials, Politico and Reuters reported that Trump had ordered a reassessment of the aid program that Kyiv uses to battle Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The review is “ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the United States,” Politico said on August 28, and means Trump is considering blocking the funding.

“The president has made no secret when it comes to foreign assistance that U.S. interests abroad should be prioritized and other foreign countries should also be paying their fair share,” Reuters quoted one official as saying on August 29.

The White House did not immediately comment on the reports.

The officials said chances are that the money will be allocated as usual but that the determination will not be made until the review is completed and Trump makes a final decision.

The federal fiscal year ends on September 30.

The United States has supported Ukraine since Russia forcibly annexed its Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and started backing separatists in Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in April 2014 in a conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people.

Washington has given Ukraine more than $3 billion in aid, including $1.5 billion in lethal and nonlethal military goods over the past five years, and is advising the country on the reform of its armed forces.