The Pentagon has announced a $125 million military aid package for Ukraine that includes two armed patrol boats to help the country defend its territorial waters.
In addition to the two Mark VI patrol boats, the package also consists of radars for countering artillery, support for satellite imagery and analysis capability, and equipment to support military medical treatment and combat evacuation procedures.
The Pentagon also said that the remaining $150 million in military aid approved by the U.S. Congress for the 2021 budget year will not be provided until the departments of State and Defense are able to certify to lawmakers that Ukraine has made "sufficient progress on key defense reforms this year."
"The Department encourages Ukraine to continue to enact reforms that strengthen civilian control of the military, promote increased transparency and accountability in defense industry and procurement, and modernize its defense sector in other key areas in line with NATO principles and standards," the Pentagon said in a statement on March 1.
Ukraine has been locked in a dispute with Russia, which annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and threw its support behind separatists in eastern Ukraine. The conflict, now in its seventh year, has killed more than 13,200 people and devastated Ukraine's industrial heartland.
'This action reaffirms the U.S. commitment to providing defensive lethal weapons to enable Ukraine to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression,' the statement said.
The impeachment in December 2019 of former President Donald Trump centered on allegations that he withheld military assistance to Ukraine as part of a scheme to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden, who at the time was challenging Trump for the White House and in November defeated him in the presidential election.
Trump was acquitted by the Senate in February last year.
With reporting by AP
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