U.S. announces new military assistance package for Ukraine

The Pentagon has announced a new package of $150 million in military assistance for Ukraine that will include counter-artillery radar, electronic warfare equipment and counter-drone technology, bolstering Kyiv amid elevated tensions with Moscow, Reuters reports.

Although the funds were already committed by Congress, the Defence Department's announcement details specifically how the U.S. military will allocate assistance earmarked for Ukraine before the end of the U.S. government's fiscal year in September.

The latest tranche of assistance will come in addition to the $125 million that the Pentagon announced on March 1st, which included armed Mark VI patrol boats.

Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014 and backed a pro-Russian separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine that triggered a conflict that has killed over 14,000 people.

Tensions have flared again in recent months after the two countries traded blame for a surge in fighting in Ukraine's Donbass, and Russia, in what it called a defensive exercise, massed troops on its border with Ukraine and in Crimea.

U.S. President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday that he will stand up for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity ahead of a summit between Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16th.

The Pentagon said the U.S. security assistance included capabilities "to enhance the lethality, command and control and situational awareness of Ukraine's forces."

It would provide counter-artillery radars, counter-drone systems, secure communications gear, electronic warfare and military medical evacuation equipment. The United States would also provide training and equipment to improve the operational safety and capacity of Ukrainian Air Force bases, it said.

The U.S. assistance followed certification by the Pentagon that Ukraine "made sufficient progress on defence reforms this year," as required by U.S. law.

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