The House Armed Services Committee passed its proposal for the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with a bipartisan vote of 60 to 2, in what Defense News described as a "marathon" session that ended around 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, Censor.NET reports citing RT.
Section 1532 of the 498-page document calls for the U.S. to provide assistance, "including training, equipment, lethal weapons of a defensive nature, logistics support, supplies and services, and sustainment to the military and national security forces of Ukraine" through the end of September 2016.
In addition to the $200 million allocated for the program, the proposal also authorizes the Pentagon to "accept and retain contributions, including in-kind contributions, from foreign governments."
The bill says the purpose of the assistance is to back the government of Ukraine in "protecting and defending the Ukrainian people from attacks posed by Russian-backed separatists," as well as "securing its sovereign territory against foreign aggressors" and "promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict."
The NDAA sub-section dealing with weapons for Kyiv specifically referenced a February 2015 report authored by a coalition of foreign policy think-tanks urging the U.S. and NATO to resist "Russian aggression."
Chaired by Texas Republican Mac Thornberry, the committee recognized that the White House has done much to provide "nonlethal security assistance" to Kyiv, including a $75-million commitment announced last month, but nonetheless "believes that defensive weapons and training are also necessary to enhance the defense of Ukraine."