(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The US approved an additional USD 5 million in new security aid for Ukraine Wednesday, according to an announcement made by the White House.
The White House statement said the new assistance will include, "body armor, night vision goggles, and additional communications equipment." This aid will add to the USD 23 million the US has already sent to Ukraine that allocated USD 15 million to its Ministry of Defense and 8 million to the state border guard services.
On the current conditions in Ukraine, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf confirmed that the pro-Russian separatists seized several government bases and forced the Ukrainian operation to enter "a new and more active phase." Harf added that, "armed Chechen fighters have traveled from Russia, particularly to Donetsk, to support the Russian-backed separatists." But she also insisted, "A majority of the Ukraine is still completely calm and violence-free." Harf reiterated that the US' continued support to the Ukrainian government and continued to pressure on Russia to use its influence with the separatists to cease the violence in Ukraine.
In reference to the Russian troops on the Ukrainian border she said, "Many of them have moved, many of them have made preparations to move. They are moving slowly, but they're working on that." Harf referenced remarks by Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko, "that his number one priority after taking office will be to restore order in eastern Ukraine by increasing dialogue with citizens of that region and traveling to the area soon." Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov tomorrow.
On this meeting Harf stressed, "We obviously have always said there was a diplomatic off-ramp here and that's why we were going to keep talking with the Russians."