The US Government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ukraine to enhance the safety and security of the European nation’s conventional weapons stockpiles.

The MoU was signed by US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper and Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate of International Security acting director Ruslan Nimchynskyi.

Under the new agreement, the US will provide funding of $4m to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense to support the construction of six explosive storehouses over the next two years.

The objective of these new storehouses is to improve the management of the country’s weapons stockpiles.

In addition, the project will help Ukraine in its efforts to comply with Nato and international standards for physical security and stockpile management.

In a release, the Department of State revealed that the US invested more than $40m from 2004 to 2018 under its Conventional Weapons Destruction programme in support of Ukraine.

The investment was made towards helping the country to address ‘the legacy of the large quantities of conventional arms and ammunition inherited after the dissolution of the Soviet Union’.

In its capacity as the lead nation for the Nato Partnership for Peace Trust Fund, the US extended financial support last year for the ‘destruction or demilitarisation of over 1,700 metric tonnes of obsolete Soviet-vintage munitions in Ukraine’.

Support from the US in recent years included providing assistance in clearing landmines and other explosive hazards in eastern Ukraine.

This included funding support last year for weapons destruction efforts that cleared more than 227,000m² of land.

According to a factsheet released by Nato in November, initiatives under the Trust Fund on the Destruction of Conventional Ammunition, Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and Antipersonnel Mines of PfM-1 type in Ukraine destroyed 27,853t of conventional ammunition (CA) and more than two million PfM-1 anti-personnel land mines.

The second phase of the Nato programme aims to carry out the destruction of 366,000 SALW, 46,800t of CA and offer assistance in destroying 5.8 million PfM-1 anti-personnel land mines.

It also includes measures to improve both the safety management and the management of stockpiles.

This phase is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2021.