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US to finance projects, provide hardware to strengthen Ukraine’s borders with Russia, Belarus

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)
Members of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service patrol along the Ukraine-Belarus border, in Volyn region, Ukraine, on November 16, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Ukraine says the United States will finance projects and procure hardware, including surveillance and monitoring equipment, to strengthen its borders with Russia and Belarus, amid tensions between the West and Moscow.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Ukraine's State Border Guard Service said the projects, worth $20 million, involved the purchase of video-recording systems and drones, as well as personal protective equipment for border guards.

Ukraine has recently asked the US for air defense systems, anti-ship missiles, anti-tank missiles, electronic jamming gear, radar systems, ammunition, upgraded artillery munitions, and medical supplies.

Washington has delivered about $400 million in military aid to Kiev so far in 2021.

Ukraine has since 2018 received a series of consignments of US ammunition and Javelin missiles, prompting criticism from Moscow.

Kiev and its Western allies keep accusing Russia of massing troops near Ukraine’s border for a possible invasion. Russia says there is no such plan.

Russia has repeatedly warned the US against provoking tensions in Ukraine. But Washington has said it is even considering sending military advisers and new equipment, including weaponry, to Ukraine.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been deteriorating since 2014, when the then-Ukrainian territory of Crimea voted in a referendum to fall under Russian sovereignty. The US and the European Union-backed Kiev refused to recognize the referendum results.

Ukraine, the EU, and the US also claim Russia has a hand in an ongoing conflict that erupted in the Donbass region of Ukraine between government forces and ethnic Russians in 2014. The West imposed sanctions on Russia after accusing it of interfering in the conflict. Moscow denies the allegation.

The EU has also been at odds with Belarus since the presidential election in the country in August last year, which President Alexander Lukashenko won. Lukashenko, however, has so far shrugged off the Western pressure with backing from key ally Russia.

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