NEW YORK, December 11. /TASS/. The US administration prepared a $200 mln package of additional military assistance for Ukraine but held it back despite appeals from the Kiev authorities, NBC News reported, citing sources.
According to the news outlet, "the administration's delay of the smaller shipment of weapons and military equipment was designed to give more time for diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions." The package "has been on the president’s desk for roughly three to four weeks," one of the sources said. Another source noted, however, that "there are a number of other options on the table for further assistance to Ukraine, including a much larger package of aid."
NBC News added that "although it’s unclear what the proposed $200 million aid package includes, Ukraine has asked for air defense systems, anti-ship missiles, more Javelin anti-tank missiles, electronic jamming gear, radar systems, ammunition, upgraded artillery munitions and medical supplies."
The White House, the US Department of State and the Department of Defense did not respond to a TASS request for comment.
Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Joe Biden of the United States held a video conference call on December 7. The conversation focused on the situation around Ukraine, the leaders also discussed bilateral relations, cybersecurity and the Iran nuclear deal.
The Western countries and Kiev have recently been talking about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed such allegations as empty and unsubstantiated fomenting of tensions. However, Peskov did not rule out that some provocations could be staged to justify the claims and warned that attempts to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine by force would have serious consequences. He also emphasized that Moscow sought to make every possible effort to help Kiev resolve the conflict in Donbass, remaining committed to the Normandy Four platform and the Minsk Agreements.