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Video: US aid to Ukraine funding 57,000 first responders, businesses, farm supplies

President Joe Biden visits Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine on Feb. 20, 2023. (The White House/Released)
September 29, 2023

A new “60 Minutes” report on CBS News has revealed that in addition to providing billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, the United States is subsidizing small businesses, purchasing seeds and fertilizer for farmers, and covering the salaries of 57,000 first responders in Ukraine.

According to CBS News, the United States has provided more than $43 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion in 2022, which represents roughly 5% of what the United States spends on its own defense budget. On the other hand, the combined aid of European countries for Ukraine stands at roughly $30 billion.

In addition to providing financial military aid to Ukraine, the United States has also provided Ukraine’s military with equipment such as the 186 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which costs roughly $2 million a piece.

Americans have been divided on the issue of military funding for Ukraine, with some lawmakers criticizing the use of tax dollars to support a war being fought by a foreign country, while other lawmakers have argued that providing aid to Ukraine is beneficial to U.S. national security.

However, a recent “60 Minutes” episode on CBS News noted that the United States has not only provided billions of dollars in military aid for Ukraine but has also spent about $25 billion in an attempt to boost Ukraine’s economy.

The CBS News report claimed that the United States is covering the salaries of 57,000 first responders, subsidizing small businesses, and purchasing both seeds and fertilizer for farmers in Ukraine in an attempt to stabilize the Ukrainian economy.

U.S. aid also covers the cost of Ukrainian divers clearing unexploded ammunition from the nation’s rivers to allow Ukrainian residents to safely be able to swim and fish.

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ukraine for the fourth time since Russia’s invasion started. During a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Blinken emphasized the commitment of the United States to continue providing aid to Ukraine.

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“The United States is committed to empowering Ukraine to write its own future,” Blinken stated. “In the crucible of President Putin’s brutal and ongoing war, the United States and Ukraine have forged a partnership that is stronger than ever and growing every day.”

Asked about the impact of the aid the United States has provided to Ukraine, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, said, “Without that sort of aid, I think Ukraine would’ve been probably overrun, defeated, certainly would’ve lost a lot more.”

While many leaders in the Biden administration have emphasized the importance of continuing to provide financial aid to Ukraine, many Americans have expressed concerns about the level of corruption in Ukraine and the lack of oversight for U.S. funding.

According to Transparency International, Ukraine is currently ranked the second most corrupt country in Europe. Russia is the only European country to have a lower transparency score than Ukraine.