US aid to Ukraine helps country battle Russian-backed forces

WASHINGTON (AP) — At the heart of President Donald Trump’s effort to get Ukraine’s help investigating a political rival is nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid.

That aid is meant to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia-backed separatists.

The aid had widespread support until the Trump administration put the brakes on it this summer. The amounts and types of aid have been points of contention ever since Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

The Pentagon’s $250 million aid package, released Sept. 11, includes sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars, electronic warfare detection, secure communications, night vision capabilities and military medical aid.

In addition, $141 million in State Department funding would include foreign military financing for many of the same systems and equipment in the Pentagon package.

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