US Army soldiers lead Ukrainian National Guard soldiers through a training exercise at Yavoriv. Photo by Nolan Peterson/Coffee or Die.
This article was originally published June 11, 2021, on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The U.S. Defense Department announced on June 11 a new military assistance package for Ukraine.
The Pentagon said the $150 million package would “enhance the lethality, command and control, and situational awareness” of Ukrainian forces.
The “defensive lethal assistance” includes counter-artillery radars, communications and electronic warfare equipment, counter-drone systems, and training.
The United States has provided more than $2.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014, when Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and backed separatists in the east, sparking a war that has killed more than 13,000 people.
Although the latest package comes from funds already committed by Congress for the U.S. government’s fiscal year that ends in September, the Pentagon announcement details how the U.S. military will allocate assistance.
In March, the Pentagon announced another tranche of $125 million, including additional armed Mark VI patrol boats.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have risen in recent months after the two countries blamed each other for an increase in fighting in eastern Ukraine amid stalled peace talks between Kyiv and Kremlin-backed separatists.
Russia also amassed 100,000 troops on its western border with Ukraine and in Crimea, drawing Western condemnation and concern for what Moscow said was just a defensive exercise.
Although Russia later announced a pullback, both Washington and Ukraine say that the withdrawal is not complete.
The issue of Ukraine is expected to be high on the agenda when U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, hold a bilateral summit in Geneva on June 16.
Earlier this week, the White House said that Biden invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to Washington this summer in a show of support for Ukraine as it struggles to implement reforms to advance its Euroatlantic aspirations.
Ukraine is heavily dependent on U.S. support to counter Russian aggression and wants to join the NATO military alliance, something the Kremlin strongly opposes.
Copyright (c)2021 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
Coffee or Die is Black Rifle Coffee Company’s online lifestyle magazine. Launched in June 2018, the magazine covers a variety of topics that generally focus on the people, places, or things that are interesting, entertaining, or informative to America’s coffee drinkers — often going to dangerous or austere locations to report those stories.
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