Catherine Croft, a State Department official specializing in Ukraine, told a closed-door meeting that Trump, through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), held up the first grant of military aid to the Ukrainian government of then-President Petro Poroshenko partly because of concerns about the country’s corruption and the president’s frustration that the U.S. was expected to pay for its defense.
Another concern was how Russia would react to the first provision of lethal weapons — which President Barack Obama had denied to Ukraine despite ongoing Russian attacks.
Croft testified that prior to the now-infamous hold on aid in the summer of 2019, there had been a hold in late 2017 for “a week or two” at the direction of OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, acting on behalf of President Trump.
The main reason, she said, was concern about “the Russian reaction” — the same reason that Obama administration officials had been cautious about providing military aid.
Eventually, President Trump provided the aid, particularly Javelin anti-tank missiles, which helped Ukraine push back the Russian advance.
But he did so, she said, after lecturing President Poroshenko — to his face — about Ukraine’s corruption and inability to pay for its own defense – READ MORE