September 27, 2019 / 6:28 PM / in 6 months

Delay in aid to Ukraine did not affect national security: Esper

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is seen at a news briefing held with French Defense Minister Florence Parly (not pictured) in Paris, France, September 7, 2019. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that a temporary delay in sending military aid to Ukraine did not impact U.S. national security.

“At this point most of the money is out the door. And at no time or at any time has any delay in this money, this funding, affected U.S. national security,” Esper said before the start of his meeting with his Norwegian counterpart at the Pentagon.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, accusing him of seeking Ukraine’s help to smear Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of the November 2020 election, and questioning whether he used aid to Ukraine as leverage.

The Pentagon has resumed sending aid to Ukraine after Trump temporarily freezed it.

Esper added that the Pentagon would provide whatever information it could to lawmakers on the incident, just as it would with any other matter.

Reporting by Idrees Ali

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