Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden slammed President Trump during Wednesday night's debate for withholding aid to Ukraine despite the fact that he was vice president when the Obama administration withheld lethal aid to the besieged country.
Asked about the current impeachment effort against President Donald Trump, Biden criticized the president for holding up aid to Ukraine while people in the country "are getting killed by Russian soldiers."
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"I learned number one that Donald Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee. That's pretty clear. He held up aid to make sure that—while at the same time innocent people in the Donbas are getting killed by Russian soldiers," Biden said at the debate.
When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, the Obama administration refused to send lethal aid. Instead, the Obama administration decided to send nonlethal aid and enact sanctions in response to Russian aggression. The Obama administration sent more than $120 million in security assistance and an additional $75 million worth of equipment including UAVs, counter-mortar radars, night-vision devices, and medical supplies. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in early 2014, and has continued its aggression in eastern Ukraine.
The Trump administration approved lethal aid to Ukraine in 2017, which included Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Democrats have accused Trump of withholding aid until the president of Ukraine agreed to open an investigation into Biden's son Hunter Biden's business dealings with the Ukrainian energy company Bursima. The funds were eventually released to Ukraine.
The Obama administration's reluctance to provide lethal aid to Ukraine during its fight with Russia has come up throughout this week's impeachment hearings. Even witnesses critical of the Trump administration's Ukraine policy have conceded that the current White House has done far more to supply Ukraine with aid necesary to compete with Russia.