The United States has delivered around 200,000 pounds (90.7 tonnes) of lethal aid to Ukraine as part of its first shipment of new military assistance directed by President Biden amid tensions at the Ukrainian-Russian border, the US embassy in Kiev said on Friday.
“The first shipment of assistance recently directed by President Biden to Ukraine arrived in Ukraine tonight. This shipment includes close to 200,000 pounds of lethal aid, including ammunition for the front-line defenders of Ukraine. The shipment – and $2.7 billion USD since 2014 – demonstrates US commitment to helping Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of growing Russian aggression,” the embassy wrote on Twitter.
On Tuesday, the US Department of State said that Washington would continue delivering military assistance to Ukraine, with new supplies expected to arrive over the coming weeks. Moscow has repeatedly urged Washington to stop providing Kiev with weapons.
In the past few months, the West and Ukraine have accused Russia of massing troops near the Ukrainian border in alleged preparation for invasion. Russia has dismissed these claims, maintaining that it has no intention of invading Ukraine while stressing that it has the right to move forces within its own territory.
Russia has also expressed concern over NATO’s military activity near its borders and the ongoing military support for Ukraine, including an increase in the number of Western instructors in Donbas.
In December, the Russian government proposed a set of mutual security guarantees in Europe to NATO and the United States, with their response still pending.
Earlier, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki on Friday confirmed the recent reports about the US plans to deliver Mi-17 helicopters to Ukraine amid the ongoing tensions with Russia.
Several media outlets reported on Thursday that Washington will provide Kiev with five Russian-made Mi-17 transport helicopters that were originally intended for the Afghan armed forces prior to the government’s collapse and were being repaired in Ukraine.
“[I]n identifying additional equipment held in DoD [Department of Defense] inventories that can be delivered under the Excess Defensive Articles program among other mechanisms, we recently notified Congress of our intent to deliver Mi-17 helicopters [to Ukraine],” Psaki said during a press briefing.
Earlier this week, the Biden administration approved a request from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia to send US-made lethal weapons to Ukraine in order to boost the country’s military capabilities against alleged Russian aggression.
Western countries and Kiev have recently expressed concerns about the alleged aggressive actions of Russia near the border with Ukraine. Kiev accuses Moscow of military build-up and preparations for an invasion of the neighboring country.
However, Russia has denied the allegations and reiterated that it has no intention of attacking any country. Moreover, Moscow has said it views the accusations as a pretext for deploying more NATO military equipment close to Russia’s borders.
- Via Sputnik News Agency
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