US military aid arrives in Ukraine amid border tensions with Russia

The first shipment of the United States’ $200 million security support package for Ukraine has arrived in Kyiv, the US embassy said.

The delivery followed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Kyiv this week amid concerns from Ukraine and its Western allies over tens of thousands of Russian troops amassed at the border with Ukraine. Russia denies planning a new military offensive.

Washington had approved the $200 million package in December.

“The United States will continue providing such assistance to support Ukraine’s armed forces in their ongoing effort to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity against Russian aggression,” the embassy said on Facebook on Saturday.

Ukraine’s defence minister thanked the US for the aid.

Meanwhile, the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will send US-made anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine in a move that Blinken said Washington was fully endorsing.

“I expedited and authorised and we fully endorse transfers of defensive equipment NATO Allies Estonia Latvia Lithuania are providing to Ukraine to strengthen its ability to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked and irresponsible aggression,” he tweeted.

“We salute them for their longstanding support to Ukraine.”

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, earlier this week described Western arms supplies to Ukraine as extremely dangerous and said they “do nothing to reduce tensions”.

The West has rejected Moscow’s key demand that Ukraine would never be added as a member of NATO and that no alliance weapons will be deployed near Russian borders, and that it will pull back its forces from Central and Eastern Europe.