The Associated Press reported a phone call between U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, in which Biden informed Poroshenko of the decision to send more aid, writes Lolita C. Baldor.
Non-lethal aid package for Ukraine
The package will include a small drone system known as Raven, which Ukrainian troops will be able to launch by hand, as well as radios, counter-mortar radars, 30 armored Humvees and 200 regular ones.
It is estimated that the drones and other equipment cost around $75 million, but it is unclear how much the Humvees are worth. Prior to this latest agreement, Washington and other NATO allies had sent over $100 million worth of military aid to Ukraine, most of it non-lethal in nature.
“We have over the last 14 months provided $118 million in security assistance” to the Ukrainian authorities, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs recently.
In a previous announcement, U.S. officials stated that they would send around 300 military advisers to Ukraine in order to train their armed forces from March to October. They will be joined by 75 British military personnel who will provide medical, intelligence and infantry training to the Ukrainian armed forces. The Polish government also announced that it will send military advisers to Ukraine.
Will the Minsk agreements be respected?
According to an official White House statement, Biden not only promised military aid during the phone call, but also expressed his concern that pro-Russian rebels are violating the terms of a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, and preventing international monitors from entering the area.
Politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties have expressed their desire to support Ukraine’s struggle against pro-Russian rebels with lethal weapons. Nuland claims that officials are discussing possible lethal assistance while also monitoring whether the terms of the Minks agreements are implemented.
Nuland also said that the past few days have seen further shipments of Russian tanks, armored vehicles, heavy artillery and rocket equipment to the separatist rebels. Despite evidence to the contrary, Russian President Vladimir Putin denies providing weapons to the rebels. So far the conflict has led to over 6,000 deaths and displaced over a million people from their homes.