The US Government has announced that it will provide a non-lethal military assistance package to Ukraine, to help its military forces fulfil their core security missions, amid the growing political unrest in the country.
Valued at $8m, it includes explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) equipment and handheld radios for Ukraine's Armed Forces, and engineering equipment, communications equipment, vehicles and non-lethal individual tactical gear for the Border Guard Service.
The package was announced by the US Vice-President Joe Biden during a two-day visit to Ukraine. The country is currently battling pro-Russian insurgents who continue to maintain control over state buildings in at least nine eastern cities.
In addition to non-lethal assistance, Biden also pledged a $50m assistance package to help the Ukrainian Government pursue political and economic reform, including the presidential election on 25 May, revive its economy, and also strengthen the partnership with the US, among others.
The Obama administration is already supplying $3m of Meals Ready to Eat, and $7m of health and welfare assistance to Ukraine, according to a White House factsheet.
Ukraine had sought lethal aid, including weapons and ammunition, but the request was turned down by the US as it felt it might come across as an escalatory act in the middle of an already tense situation, ABC News reported.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov has ordered the security forces to resume anti-terrorist operations in the east, following the discovery of two tortured bodies near Slaviansk, which is occupied by pro-Russian militants.
Ukraine had suspended the operation after signing an agreement with Russia in Geneva, Switzerland, last week to resolve the crisis in the former Soviet republic.