Washington will provide an additional $200 million in defensive military aid to Kiev as part of American efforts to help Ukraine protect itself.
The Biden administration has said it’s providing an additional $200 million in defensive military aid to Ukraine amid soaring fears of a Russian invasion.
The announcement came on Wednesday as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken opened a hastily arranged visit to Kiev amid warnings about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We are committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and will continue to provide Ukraine the support it needs,” a senior US State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity said. The official did not detail the contents of the aid package.
The official said the assistance was approved in late December as part of American efforts to help Ukraine protect itself.
Until Wednesday, however, the administration had refused to comment on it.
The White House said on Tuesday that Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine.
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The Biden administration and its European allies have accused Putin of creating the crisis by massing troops along Ukraine's borders.
Blinken's visit to Kiev follow inconclusive diplomatic talks between Moscow and the West in Europe last week that failed to resolve stark disagreements over Ukraine and other security matters.
Instead, those meetings appear to have increased fears of a Russian invasion, and the Biden administration has accused Russia of preparing a “false flag operation" to use as a pretext for intervention. Russia has angrily denied the charge.
From Kiev, Blinken will travel to Berlin, where he will meet with his German, British and French counterparts to discuss a possible response to any Russian military action.
In Geneva on Friday, Blinken will be testing Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Russia's interest in a “diplomatic off-ramp” for the crisis, the State Department said.
Lavrov reaffirmed that Russia expects a written response this week from the US and its allies to Moscow’s request for binding guarantees that NATO will not embrace Ukraine or any other ex-Soviet countries or station its forces and weapons there.
Russia in 2014 seized the Crimean Peninsula after the ouster of Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly leader and also threw its weight behind a separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine.
More than 14,000 people have been killed in nearly eight years of fighting between the Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces in the country’s industrial heartland called Donbas.