Europe

Ukraine crisis: US to give Kiev $200m in defence support

Ukrainian soldiers fire a howitzer close to a frontline in the eastern Donetsk region. Photo: 11 January 2018 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Ukraine accuses Russia of sending its troops and arming separatists in the east

The US has announced it will give Ukraine $200m (£152m) to strengthen its defence capabilities.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the funds would be for training, communications, medical, and other non-lethal operational needs.

The US said it had given more than $1bn in defence support to Kiev since 2014.

Russia annexed Ukraine's southern Crimea peninsula that year, and is also accused of arming separatists in the east of the country.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions - which are known collectively as Donbas.

Moscow denies sending its troops and providing weapons to the separatists, but admits that Russian "volunteers" are helping the rebels.

The latest announcement by the Pentagon comes just days after US President Donald Trump's summit with Vladimir Putin, which has prompted criticism from senior American lawmakers that he was too lenient with the Russian leader.

At the summit in Finland, the two presidents discussed a number of issues, including the Ukraine crisis.

Media reports say President Putin proposed holding a referendum in Donbas to resolve the conflict - but Moscow has not publicly commented on this.

The two leaders held talks with only interpreters present and have given few details of what was actually said.

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