Since the early 1990s, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has given billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, a country that has long struggled with internal corruption and Russian antagonism.
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That money is now at the epicenter of an impeachment inquiry rattling President Trump's White House, with House Democrats accusing the chief executive of withholding almost $400 million to pressure the country’s new leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate work done by former Vice President and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, for a Ukrainian gas company.
“We do a lot for Ukraine; we spend a lot of money and a lot of time,” Trump told Zelensky during a July 25 call, according to a rough transcript provided by the White House. "I would like you to do us a favor."
The transcript has become a key exhibit in the impeachment inquiry, and Trump has acknowledged that he withheld the aid while denying any improper motivation. One reason he has cited is the desire to pressure other European countries to give more money to Ukraine.
Over the past two decades, the amount of aid given by the U.S. to the Eastern European nation has steadily increased, according to data compiled by the U.S. Foreign Aid Office.
The Bush administration gave the least amount of aid to Ukraine, compared (so far) with the Trump administration and the Obama administration. During President George W. Bush’s eight years in office, from 2001 through 2008, the U.S. government provided about $1.1 billion to Ukraine, government figures reveal.
Congress almost doubled the amount of aid provided to Ukraine during President Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House, supplying $2.1 billion.
The amount began to spike in 2010 -- the same year that Ukraine held a presidential election. But the biggest jump came between 2015 and 2016. In 2015, the U.S. gave about $314 million to Ukraine; in 2016, that skyrocketed to $523 million, 63 percent of which went toward the military.
The increase came almost two years after an incredibly tumultuous year for Ukraine, which was thrust into a violent revolution in February 2014 when pro-European, anti-Russian protesters marched in the nation’s capital, Kiev, ultimately overthrowing the Ukrainian government and pro-Kremlin leader.
Less than one month later, the Russian military seized control of Crimea and, via a dubious referendum, annexed the peninsula.
Lawmakers approved another significant chunk of aid in 2017 -- the first year of Trump's term, giving Ukraine $446 million. In 2018, that slipped to $350 million.