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US Defense Budget Earmarks $350Mln for Military Aid to Ukraine

© REUTERS / Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press ServiceUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a ceremony to hand over weapons and military vehicles to servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces in Chuhuiv outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, October 15, 2016
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a ceremony to hand over weapons and military vehicles to servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces in Chuhuiv outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, October 15, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The new US defense spending bill proposes $350 million in security aid, including lethal defense weapons, for Ukraine in 2018.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — According to a newly released draft budget, the measure is included in a $700 billion defense policy bill approved by both Senate and House Armed Services Committees on Wednesday.

The legislation "authorizes $350 million to provide security assistance to Ukraine, including defensive lethal assistance," the document said.

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"The legislation restricts half of these funds until the Secretary of Defense certifies that Ukraine has taken substantial action to make defense institutional reforms critical to sustaining capabilities developed using security assistance," it noted.

Lethal aid could provide Ukraine with anti-tank weapons and possibly anti-aircraft arms, according to published reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that any decision by the United States to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine would fuel the conflict in the country's east, an argument voiced by former President Barack Obama in rejecting similar proposals.

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