Biden administration announces $150m in Ukraine security aid before Putin summit

US president's second security package includes funds for 'training, equipment and advisory efforts'

A soldier holds a Javelin missile system during a military exercise in the training centre of Ukrainian Ground Forces near Rivne, Ukraine May 26, 2021. Picture taken May 26, 2021. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
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The US on Friday announced an additional $150 million in security aid for Ukraine.

This comes before US President Joe Biden’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin next week.

The Pentagon said the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative "includes training, equipment and advisory efforts to help Ukraine’s forces preserve the country’s territorial integrity, secure its borders and improve interoperability with Nato".

The announcement noted that the package also includes funds to "enhance the lethality, command and control and situational awareness of Ukraine’s forces through the provision of counter-artillery radars, communications gear, electronic warfare and military medical evacuation equipment".

The US has provided more than $2.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014.

The Biden administration announced a separate, $125m Ukrainian security aid package in March.

But the most recent aid announcement could further exacerbate tension between the US and Russia before Mr Biden’s summit with Mr Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.

The Biden administration has sought to temper expectations that the summit will yield any significant breakthroughs.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told ABC network on Thursday that the administration is "not expecting to have a huge outcome from this".

On Monday, , Mr Biden spoke with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"President Biden affirmed the United States' unwavering commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of ongoing Russian aggression in Donbas and Crimea," Ms Psaki said.

She also noted that Mr Biden supports Mr Zelensky's "plan to tackle corruption and implement a reform agenda based on our shared democratic values and Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations that delivers justice, security and prosperity to the people of Ukraine".

Separately, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has advanced legislation that would authorise the Biden administration to provide up to $300m in annual military aid to Ukraine.