Ukraine to get $200 million from Pentagon for additional training, equipment and advisory efforts

The U.S. Department of Defense announced $200 million in additional assistance to Kiev on Friday to boost the defensive capacity of Ukraine’s forces.

The move brings the total U.S. security sector assistance to the country to more than $1 billion since 2014, according to a Pentagon statement released on July 20.

The “security cooperation funds” will be spent on additional training, technology and advisory efforts, but a timeline for delivery and fielding of equipment will be determined at a later date.

“The added funds will provide equipment to support ongoing training programs and operational needs, including capabilities to enhance Ukraine’s command and control, situational awareness systems, secure communications, military mobility, night vision, and military medical treatment,” the Pentagon statement said.

“This reaffirms the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Ukraine,” it added.

The Pentagon’s announcement took place just days after U.S. President Donald Trump’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.

Prior to the summit, Trump told reporters “We’re going to have to see” about accepting Moscow’s claim on Crimea, which was annexed from Ukraine by Russia in February-March 2014.

On Thursday, media reports suggested that Putin made a proposal to Trump to hold a referendum on the territory. Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov confirmed on Friday that President Putin made a “concrete” offer on Ukraine to the U.S. president.

“This problem has been discussed, concrete proposals have been made on how to resolve this issue,” he said, referring to the four-year conflict.

Up to date, the Ukraine conflict has claimed over 10,000 lives and clashes between pro-Russian and Ukrainian forces happen nearly daily.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in a statement on Friday that Russia should suffer “consequences for its aggressive, destabilizing behavior and its illegal occupation of Ukraine.”

“The fundamental question we must ask ourselves is do we wish to strengthen our partners in key regions or leave them with no other option than to turn to Russia, thereby undermining a once in a generation opportunity to more closely align nations with the U.S. vision for global security and stability,” he said.

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