First part of US military aid arrives in Ukraine

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

The delivery followed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Kyiv this week amid concerns from Kyiv 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 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,” it said on Facebook.

Ukraine’s defence minister thanked the United States for the aid.

However, the country’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, criticised Germany for its refusal to supply weapons to Kyiv, urging Berlin to stop “undermining unity” and “encouraging Vladimir Putin” amid fears of a Russian invasion.

Ukraine’s calls to Western allies to bolster its defence capabilities have seen the United States, Britain and Baltic states agree to send to Kyiv weapons, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.

Kuleba said on Twitter that Germany’s statements “about the impossibility of supplying defence weapons to Ukraine” did not match “the current security situation”.

The minister stressed that “today the unity of the West in relation to Russia is more important than ever”.

“The German partners must stop undermining unity with such words and actions and encouraging (Russian President) Vladimir Putin to launch a new attack on Ukraine,” Kuleba said.

Demonstrators, meanwhile, formed a human chain in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on Saturday for the annual Unity Day, which marks the anniversary of the country’s unification.

About 200 people held a 30-metre-long Ukrainian flag, gathering on both sides of the Dnieper River to mark the union of Ukraine’s east and west in 1919.

The rally was also meant to show solidarity amid the recent escalation of tensions with Russia.

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