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Pentagon asks Congress to allocate $19 mln in support of Ukrainian army

Money was intended to provide training for Ukraine's National Guard forces, in particular to train four companies of soldiers and a headquarters element

WASHINGTON, August 02. /ITAR-TASS/. The United States intends to provide $19 million to bolster Ukraine’s military operation, which pro-Kiev authorities conduct against militias in the southeastern regions of the country, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

Kirby said the money was intended to provide training for Ukraine's National Guard forces, in particular to train four companies of soldiers and a headquarters element.

The high-ranking US military official said the United States was supporting Ukraine with non-lethal aid.

“We are not assisting them with issues of targeting,” Kirby said. “We continue to review requests for military assistance from the government of Ukraine through an interagency process.”

Kirby also said that Russia was building up its military presence near the border of its neighboring Ukraine.

“It’s difficult to pin it down to a specific number but they continue to be reinforced,” he said. “And as I've said before, they are close to the border within 50 kilometers of the border.”

The White House earlier reported that Vice President Joe Biden held a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko and the US official pledged more assistance to Ukraine.

“The Vice President also announced approximately $8 million in new assistance to the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service,” the White House said in its statement.

“This additional assistance includes engineering equipment for improving infrastructure along Ukraine's borders, transport and patrol vehicles, surveillance equipment to extend the visual range of border security patrols, and small boats to conduct maritime patrol and interdiction operations,” the statement said.

According to the statement, Biden and Poroshenko again accused Russia of supplying militias in the Ukrainian southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions with weapons.

“The two leaders also discussed Russia’s deeply destabilizing efforts to continue supplying weapons to its proxies in eastern Ukraine and the increasing prevalence of artillery and rocket fire coming from the Russian side of the border,” the statement said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethen Pillay said on Thursday that the United Nations had no proofs of Russia’s alleged arms supplies to self-defense militias in the east Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

The UN commissioner said the United Nations had not found any firm evidence of Russia’s arms supplies to the east Ukrainian militias.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in Donetsk and Lugansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled east.