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1 Sep, 2021 12:49

US & Ukraine defense ministers sign agreement for intensified military cooperation ahead of Zelensky's first visit to White House

US & Ukraine defense ministers sign agreement for intensified military cooperation ahead of Zelensky's first visit to White House

The US and Ukraine have agreed to deepen military ties by signing a strategic framework for their defense partnership, it was revealed on Tuesday, following a meeting between American and Ukrainian defense ministers in Washington.

The agreement came the day before a scheduled meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his American counterpart Joe Biden, who will convene in the White House on Wednesday.

Writing on Twitter, Zelensky revealed that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian Minister of Defense Andrey Taran had signed the document, which he called an agreement “on the strategic foundations of the defense partnership.” The president also noted the importance of Washington’s support for “Ukrainian territorial integrity, gaining NATO membership and joint opposition to Russian aggression.”

As part of the agreement, the two nations have agreed to cooperate in the field of military research, development, testing, and evaluation.

Since the start of the Donbass War in 2014, the US has sent more than $2.5 billion to support Ukraine’s armed forces. This number is regularly increasing. On Tuesday, it was revealed that Biden would send a new $60 million security assistance pack, including Javelin anti-armor systems. In March, Washington provided Ukraine with another $125 million in a new military aid package.

Before the signing ceremony in the Department of Defense, Austin told Zelensky in a press conference that Washington was committed to strengthening the “strategic defense partnership” between the two nations.

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“Now, this department is committed to strengthening our strategic defense partnership. The US-Ukraine strategic defense framework that Minister Taran and I will sign today enhances our cooperation and advances our shared priorities,” he said, noting that the two countries would work closely in areas such as Black Sea security, cyber defense, and intel sharing.

As well as money for the military, Zelensky revealed on Wednesday that he is looking for Washington to contribute up to $277 billion for “more than 80 projects” in what he has dubbed a “transformation plan for Ukraine.”

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