Days after Helsinki summit, US announces $200 million security fund for Ukraine to help improve defence ability

Washington: The US Defence Department said on Friday that it would give $200 million to Ukraine to help the war-torn nation bolster its military's defensive capabilities.

The amount is part of a series of Pentagon payments now totalling more than $1 billion to Ukraine since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea.

FIle photo of US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit. Reuters

FIle photo of US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit. Reuters

Ukraine is fighting a separatist insurgency in its Russian-speaking eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

All of the military aid, which comes from the Pentagon's security cooperation funds, will be non-lethal in nature.

"The added funds will provide equipment to support ongoing training programs and operational needs, including capabilities to enhance Ukraine's command and control, situational awareness systems, secure communications, military mobility, night vision, and military medical treatment," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The announcement came days after US President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin sparked outrage at home, where even some Republicans said the US leader had been far too conciliatory to his counterpart.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since the Moscow-backed insurgency broke out in April 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of funnelling troops and arms to the pro-Moscow rebels across the border. Moscow denies the allegations.

The conflict has become a focal point of stresses in the Washington-Moscow relationship, with the US hitting Russia with stiff economic sanctions.

Updated Date: Jul 21, 2018 09:10 AM

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