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US to send $8M in aid to Ukraine for border security

The U.S. will supply Ukraine’s border guard with around $8 million in additional assistance, Vice President Joe Biden announced Friday. Biden informed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of the additional aid during a phone call Friday, according to the White House. It will include engineering equipment to improve Ukraine’s borders, transport and patrol vehicles, surveillance equipment, and small boats. The announcement comes amid continued fighting between Ukrainian security forces and separatist rebels in the east of the country. The U.S. and the West blame Russia for supplying insurgents with arms and funds, as well as training. Biden and Poroshenko discussed Russia’s efforts to supply arms to the rebels during Friday's call, and increased cross-border strikes on Ukraine from Russia. Tensions between the West and Russia have been at some of their highest levels since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was downed over rebel-held territory in the restive region on July 17, killing all 298 people on board. Ukrainian security services were able to secure the crash site Thursday and Friday despite rebel attacks in the area, Poroshenko told Biden during their call. At least 500 people have been killed since the Ukrainian army launched an "anti-terror" operation against pro-Russian separatists in April.  After Russia annexed Crimea in March following a referendum in the peninsula, pro-Russian separatists, hoping for a repeat scenario in eastern Ukraine, expressed their intention to break away from the central government in Kiev.

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