US sends more security equipment to Ukraine, sanctions rebels
The United States will deliver Humvees and drones to Ukraine and hit rebel leaders and their alleged Russian supporters with further sanctions, after accusing Moscow of repeatedly violating a ceasefire agreement.
Around $75 million worth of drones, Humvees and other "non-lethal defensive" equipment will be sent to Kiev, a senior administration official said Wednesday.
New sanctions were targeted at officials in the self-proclaimed rebel Donetsk People's Republic in Ukraine as well as the Russian National Commercial Bank and a nationalist Russian group.
The latest measures were unveiled after weeks of White House complaints that Moscow is sending troops and weapons across the border to Ukraine in support of pro-Russian rebels.
"While we continue to believe that there is no military resolution to this crisis, Ukraine has the right to defend itself," the US official said.
The package stops short of providing Ukraine with lethal military assistance, which many say would help Kiev repel Russian advances.
There has been an escalation of tensions between Russia and the West in recent weeks, despite a February 12 ceasefire to halt hostilities.
Since then fighting has continued, Moscow has withdrawn from the landmark Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe and the United States has begun to deploy 3,000 troops on a three-month exercise to the Baltic region.
© 2015 AFP