US Supplying Ukrainian Army With ‘Secondhand Stuff’

Decades-old Humvees, a single bulletproof vest for 120 troops

U.S. armored Humvees arrive in Ukraine / AP
November 30, 2015

The non-lethal military aid that the U.S. government has supplied to Ukraine is "secondhand stuff," a Ukrainian special forces commander said recently.

In notably poor condition are several Humvees made in the 1980s and 1990s that the United States sent to the country in July to help the Ukrainian government fight Russia-backed separatists.

The Washington Post reported:

On the outskirts of the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, for example, one Ukrainian special forces unit is using U.S.-supplied Humvees dating from the late 1980s and early 1990s, based on serial numbers on the vehicles. Three of the Humvees had plastic doors and windows--barely any protection at all. The tires on one of the trucks blew apart after driving only a few hundred kilometers, the result of sitting in a warehouse too long, said one mechanic.

These aging vehicles are a few of the 100 Humvees delivered to Ukraine in July. The old equipment is not limited to Humvees; an infantry unit comprised of 120 troops was also given one bulletproof vest, a model that hasn’t been used by U.S. troops for several years.

"If the Americans are going to send us equipment, don’t send us secondhand stuff," an unnamed Ukrainian special forces commander said of the poor equipment.

Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col Joe Sowers sidestepped the issue of the aging equipment but insisted that the United States is sending aid and setting up training programs "to help Ukraine better monitor and secure its border, operate more safely and effectively, and preserve and enforce its territorial integrity."

Not all of the aid provided to Ukraine is old, as the Defense Department has also supplied soldiers with new night vision and first aid kits, as well as more advanced counter artillery and counter mortar radars.

President Obama has long opposed supplying Ukraine with lethal aid, while some administration officials, including Defense Secretary Ash Carter, have been open to considering it. Evelyn Farkas, the the former White House official overseeing military relations with Russia and Ukraine, has also argued for the United States to send weapons to Ukraine.

Farkas resigned from her post at the end of October.

Published under: Ukraine