OPEN LETTER TO SECRETARY HAGEL
June 13, 2014
The Honorable Chuck Hagel
Secretary of Defense
Department of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400
Dear Secretary Hagel:
Several friends of mine who are American veterans of Ukrainian ethnic background have suggested that I write to you about tangible non lethal U.S. military assistance to Ukraine. As you know Ukraine had been decimated militarily, initially because of economic woes, corruption, neglect and more deliberately since 2010 through the joint efforts of the Kremlin and the Kremlin’s lackey Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovych. The latest efforts were part of a conspiracy to make Ukraine weak and thus susceptible to Russian psychological pressure, intimidation and even physical force.
At this point, Ukraine would appreciate greatly any military support. The United States has been forthcoming somewhat in this regard with what is considered non-lethal aid. However, the definition of non lethal is very much subject to interpretation. My understanding is that Ukraine has requested excess property from the U.S. currently located in Europe and this has stalled because of Department of State bureaucratic misinterpretation. There should be no ambiguity regarding equipment used to protect from harm rather than inflict same. Most recently, during the presidential inauguration events in Ukraine, Vice President Joe Biden announced almost 50 million dollars in new aid to Ukraine for constitutional reform, strengthening unity and effective border control.
The situation in Southeastern Ukraine remains in turmoil in several cities and towns and, particularly, on the Ukraine-Russia border. In fact several border crossing points controlled by the Russian armed terrorists have enabled several Russian tanks and armored vehicles to enter Ukrainian territory. This has occurred in the last few day under the watchful supervision of Russian aircraft. Russia’s President Putin, as many times in the past has denied Russian complicity, but the evidence against Russia is overwhelming. It should be clear by now that Russia has imperialistic designs at the very least on Ukraine and, perhaps, even our eastern NATO allies and that its public pronouncements and international commitments are meaningless.
Imminently, Ukraine is very much in need of assistance/protection for its border guards as well as internal security personnel. In particular, Ukraine needs humanitarian assistance and logistical transport support to be able to move personnel with some degree of alacrity, protect them with helmets and shields and provide emergency medical care. Current deficiencies affect not only conditions in the Southeast, but throughout Ukraine since economic and constitutional reforms are delayed until Ukraine is able to secure and strengthen its unity.
A new and inexpensive opportunity to help Ukraine will open up shortly for the Department of Defense. Naturally, I am referring to nonlethal excess supplies which are not weapons, ammunition or material that is designated to inflict serious bodily injury or death and comply with Title 10 of the U.S. Code falling within the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Defense. Since they are excess supplies, they would indeed cost us next to nothing. At the same time they would help Ukraine significantly in the area of strengthening Ukraine’s unity and border control as stressed by Vice President Biden in Ukraine.
I am assuming that with the reduction of major U.S. engagement in Afghanistan, the U.S. military will find itself with thousands of vehicles and other equipment such as helmets, vests, etc. in Afghanistan in excess to U.S. military needs. A gradual reduction process in Afghanistan may start even now since major disengagement is scheduled for December of 2014. The timing coincides with the immediacy of Ukraine’s needs for such humanitarian non-lethal support. With its cargo planes the Ukrainians would be in position to pick up these items for transport to Ukraine.
Just prior to our entry into World War 2, we provided (gave away) to the United Kingdom under a “Lend/Lease” arrangement a number of US Navy “Destroyer” ships to defend the U. K. from German “U Boat” submarines, knowing full well that the “loan” would not be repaid. Similarly, we can “lend” to Ukraine a number of these vehicles, such as Humvee s, medium trucks and MRAPS (Mine Resistant/Ambush Protected) vehicles under similar “Lend/Lease” arrangements. With their large capacity cargo planes the Ukrainians would be in position to pick up these items for transport to Ukraine.
Ukraine’s newly elected President Poroshenko mentioned the U.S. “lend/lease” program recently and he, most certainly, is well aware of this opportunity for excess supplies in Afghanistan. The logistical issues could be worked out between our Department of State and the Ukrainian counterpart, if you Mr. Secretary and DOD are willing to proceed.
Thank you for your kind consideration of this request. Your expeditious action would enhance Ukraine’s security appreciably and enable the new Ukrainian President to strengthen Ukraine’s unity which would enable him to begin the process of carrying out much needed Constitutional and economic reforms. The people in Ukraine as well as Ukrainian Americans, among them many U.S. veterans would be most grateful.
Askold S. Lozynskyj
a concerned Ukrainian American
cc: The Honorable Joe Biden
The Honorable John Kerry
The Honorable Petro Poroshenko