The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed unanimously on September 18 the Ukraine Freedom Support Act - the bill, which designates Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia as “major non-NATO allies.”
If backed by Congress and enacted, the bill will also authorize more sanctions against Russia, as well as military and non-military assistance to Ukraine, including lethal aid, and allocation of USD 350 million for that purpose.
Designation as a major non-NATO ally under the section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act gives a country more access to U.S. military assistance, among them giving priority to a designated country for the transfer of excess U.S. defense articles. But the status does not entail any security commitment.
Fifteen countries have such designation. Afghanistan was the last nation to gain the status in 2012; others are: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand.
“The United States has been and will be number one strategic partner for Georgia, so it’s not a news,” Georgia’s PM Irakli Garibashvili told journalists when asked on September 18 about possible major non-NATO ally status for Georgia.
Georgia signed Charter on Strategic Partnership with the U.S. in 2009.
If granted, the status of major non-NATO ally would “elevate Georgia’s strategic partnership with the United States in all directions, first and foremost in the security sphere,” Georgian state minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Alexi Petriashvili, said on September 19.
“It is very important that Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will be together designated as major U.S. [non-NATO] allies,” Petriashvili added.
The bill, passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also authorizes USD 10 million for the next three fiscal years “in order to counter Russian Federation propaganda” in the former Soviet Union countries and prioritizes Russian-language broadcasting into Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.