Ahead of crucial Putin-Biden summit, Washington raises stakes by announcing $150 million in additional military aid for Ukraine
The Pentagon has announced a new $150 million military aid package for Ukraine, potentially raising tensions with Moscow just days before President Joe Biden's summit meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
The latest gift from Washington aims to boost the “lethality, command and control, and situational awareness” of Kiev's forces, the Pentagon said in a statement on Friday. In practice, that translates into counter-artillery radars, counter-drone systems, secure communications technology and electronic warfare equipment.
Ukraine will also receive medical evacuation gear, as well as training and equipment to improve the safety and capacity of its air force bases. The new systems are meant to complement a $125 million aid package that was announced in March, which included counter-artillery radars and Mark VI patrol boats the US is phasing out.Also on rt.com US touts patrol boats unwanted by its own Navy in $125 million package of ‘lethal aid’ to Ukraine
The two aid packages have been authorized by the US Congress as part of the defense funding bill, but it was contingent upon the Pentagon certifying that Kiev was making sufficient progress on recommended reforms.
Washington has pledged more than $2.5 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since 2014, when the government in Kiev was overthrown with the assistance of far-right nationalists. The fallout from the US-backed 'Maidan' triggered a chain of events which led to the Crimean peninsula seceding and voting to rejoin Russia. A situation which US refuses to recognize to this day.
The two regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass area of east Ukraine also rebelled, and defeated two attempts to crush them by force. Kiev claims this amounts to “Russian aggression.” However, Moscow also doesn't recognise the two self-declared states.
Tensions have risen in recent months, with fighting in the Donbass region escalating and both Russia and NATO conducting large-scale military exercises in Europe.
Biden is scheduled to meet with Putin on June 16. Ukraine is expected to be on the agenda, along with issues such as arms control, cybersecurity and nuclear cooperation.Also on rt.com Ukrainians who oppose NATO are 'smart' as they know US would use them as 'cannon fodder' in red line issue for Russia, says Putin
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