U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Sunday the country will send $54 million in humanitarian aid funding to support “ordinary Ukrainians” displaced by the ongoing Russian invasion, as hundreds of thousands of refugees have reportedly fled the country in the past week.
“Our partnership with the people of Ukraine is steadfast and enduring, and we are focused on Ukraine’s urgent humanitarian needs as an important part of our response to Russia’s premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified attack,” Blinken said in a press release Sunday.
The State Department will foot about $26 million, while the U.S. Agency for International Development plans to provide another $28 million. Including this latest infusion of aid, American assistance totals nearly $405 million since Russia took the Crimean region from Ukraine in 2014.
“This latest tranche of humanitarian assistance will flow through independent humanitarian organizations that deliver needs-based assistance with impartiality, humanity, neutrality and independence,” Blinken said. Those groups offer resources like food, drinking water, shelter, emergency health care and more.
“Our funding will also help humanitarian organizations maintain contact between family members who have been separated due to the conflict, hopefully leading to reunification in some cases,” he added.
In addition to allocating funds for humanitarian assistance, the U.S. has also sent thousands of troops into the region to support its fellow NATO member nations and as part of the recently activated NATO Response Force.
Around 7,500 U.S. troops assigned to the Response Force, now on standby for the first time in its history, are headed to locations across Germany. The U.S. also bolstered its forces in neighboring Poland, Romania, Latvia, Estonia and elsewhere in Europe as tensions escalated in the runup to the Feb. 24 invasion.
Around 12,000 U.S. troops are on heightened alert in advance of possible combat deployments to protect NATO territory, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Military Times Friday.
It’s unclear how American troops may be tasked under the NATO Response Force as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine evolves.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, Penn State alumna and Master’s candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting.