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US to Train Regular Ukrainian Troops

FILE - A Ukrainian soldier stands during training in a landfill at Chuguev, Ukraine, June 4, 2014.

The Obama administration said Friday that it would expand training of Ukrainian security forces in their fight against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The U.S. is already training Ukrainian national guard units. In the fall, officials said, the mission will be expanded to include "small unit training" of regular Ukrainian troops.

The training will take place in western Ukraine near the border with Poland.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the focus for the U.S. right now was on continuing nonlethal aid for Ukraine and that there were no plans to provide weapons.

Also Friday, the White House said Vice President Joe Biden spoke to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko by telephone.

Biden said he welcomed recent anti-corruption reforms passed by the parliament and Poroshenko's plans to create a 30-kilometer demilitarized zone that would be monitored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Both leaders said the pro-Russian rebels had failed to fully carry out the February cease-fire and the agreement to withdraw heavy weapons from the line of contact in the east.