The United States is helping Ukraine bolster its defense capabilities, announcing a $150 million security package less than a week before U.S. President Joe Biden is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
The Pentagon unveiled the package, part of Washington's ongoing Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, on Friday, saying it was able to proceed with the aid after confirming Kyiv had complied with necessary reforms.
The package includes counter-artillery radars, counter-unmanned aerial systems, secure communications gear, electronic warfare equipment and military medical evacuation equipment.
It also provides for training to help improve the safety and capacity at Ukrainian air force bases.
The aid, part of $275 million in support for Ukraine, was approved as part of the Pentagon fiscal year 2021 budget.
The first aid package, sent in March, included armed patrol boats, counter-artillery radars, and support for satellite imagery and analysis.
JUST IN: Details on the new $125 million US assistance package "to help #Ukraine’s forces preserve the country’s territorial integrity, secure its borders, & improve interoperability w/@NATO" pic.twitter.com/Ml7nVp7ysb— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) March 1, 2021
Tensions between Ukraine, which has sought closer ties with the West, and Russia have been simmering for months following a massive buildup of Russian forces along the border and in occupied Crimea earlier this year.
U.S. and Western officials described the Russian buildup, which involved more than 100,000 troops, as the biggest since the Kremlin seized Crimea from Kyiv in 2014.
U.S. officials have said Biden intends to raise the issue of Ukraine when he meets with Putin on Wednesday in Geneva, describing Moscow's behavior as aggressive.
Russian officials insisted the buildup earlier this year was to support military exercises and that many of the forces massed near Ukraine have since pulled back.
U.S. and NATO officials view the Russian claims with suspicion, with Washington promising continued support for Kyiv.
"The United States has committed more than $2.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014 and we'll continue to strengthen our strategic defense partnership, including through the provision of defensive lethal assistance," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters.