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Ukraine receives $60mn worth of military aid from US

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows Ukrainian servicemen riding atop an armored personnel carrier with Javelin anti-tank missiles during a military parade in Kiev, Ukraine. (By AFP)

Ukraine has received more than 60 million dollars’ worth of weapons and other equipment from the United States, following an initial freeze in military aid to the country that prompted an impeachment trial against President Donald Trump.

The military assistance, which was announced by the US Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Tuesday, included Javelin anti-tank missiles, radio systems, and other ammunition.

The US mission said in a tweet on Wednesday that, “The United States stands strongly with Ukraine in support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity” against what it called “Russian aggression.”

An armed conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine in 2014. An uprising had toppled the democratically-elected government in the country earlier in the year. And people in the Crimean Peninsula had voted in a referendum to separate from Ukraine and unite with the Russian Federation. People in the eastern region of the Donbass — the majority of them ethnic Russians — similarly sought to assert autonomy, and took up arms to protect themselves against a military crackdown by the new, pro-Western government.

The Ukrainian military and militia forces have since been involved in military operations to subdue the pro-Russians in the Donbass.

Kiev and its allies accuse Russia of aiding the pro-Russians. Moscow denies involvement in the conflict.

Ukraine has depended heavily on US support during the six-year war. The country received the first batch of Javelin missiles in 2018. Back in June 2019, the Pentagon announced plans to provide 250 million dollars to Ukraine in additional training and equipment to boost the capacity of the Ukrainian army.

However, the military aid package was frozen last year on an order by Trump, who tied its release to a Ukrainian investigation of his domestic political rivals and prompting an impeachment.

Separately on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it had approved a possible delivery to Ukraine of up to 16 patrol boats and related equipment for an estimated cost of 600 million dollars.

Russia has consistently warned against the procurement of weapons to Ukraine, citing concerns of an escalation of the conflict in the east of that country, which has claimed the lives of some 13,000 people since 2014.

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