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The United States is pledging up to $ 60 million in military aid to Ukraine ahead of the White House meeting Wednesday between President Joe Biden and his counterpart in Kiev, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The Biden administration said in a notification to Congress that the plan to aid Ukraine was necessary due to a “significant increase in Russian military activity along its border” and due to attacks on Ukraine. mortar, ceasefire violations and other provocations.

“Russia’s build-up along the Ukrainian border has highlighted gaps in the Ukrainian army’s ability to defend against a Russian incursion,” the notification said. “Ukraine’s significant capacity gaps need to be addressed urgently in order to strengthen deterrence in light of the current Russian threat. “

Zelenskky is expected to meet with Biden as part of a visit to the White House which the administration says will demonstrate support for Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of Russia’s seizure of Crimea and support for armed separatists in the east of the country. The White House has also said that Biden intends to encourage Zelenskyy’s efforts to fight corruption in the country.

Zelenskyy, meanwhile, is expected to rise with Biden Washington’s decision not to block construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany that bypasses Ukraine. Zelenskyy described the new pipeline as a powerful geopolitical weapon for Russia.

The aid is intended to demonstrate that the United States is committed to the security of Ukraine as the former Soviet republic sought stronger Western support during the build-up of Russian troops and escalating tensions. The new package will include more Javelin anti-tank missiles, which Kiev sees as essential in defending against the Russian-backed separatists who have passed through eastern Ukraine.

The Pentagon announced in March a $ 125 million military aid package for Ukraine, including two armed patrol boats to help the country defend its territorial waters.

Military aid to Ukraine has become a politically charged issue in the Trump administration. Allegations that then-President Donald Trump refused to help Ukraine in a plan to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden and his son Hunter amounted to the basis of the first impeachment case against him.

Trump was acquitted by the Senate in February 2020.

The Independent Gt

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