WASHINGTON, November 20 (Sputnik) – The United States will continue to send special teams to Ukraine to provide security assistance in the form of advising and training the country's military and medical staff, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said during a press briefing on Thursday.
"Ukraine has the right to defend itself against this continued aggression, and the United States is providing about $116 million in security assistance to help Ukraine in this effort," Rathke said.
"This assistance also includes advising and training, and the United States will continue to send advisory teams to Kiev to help improve Ukraine's combat medical care and to identify areas for additional security assistance," he added.
The United States is currently considering whether to supply Ukraine with lethal military equipment, a plan that has bipartisan support in the Senate and one that Rathke confirmed is not yet "off the table".
Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Kiev on Thursday where, according to a number of media sources, a decision on supplying Ukraine with lethal aid could be discussed.
In September, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked the United States to provide his country with lethal military equipment during his visit to the United States, but Washington refused to grant it, saying it would only be able to provide Kiev with non-lethal assistance.
Following months of violence, which erupted after the southeastern regions of Ukraine refused to recognize the legitimacy of a new government that came to power following a February coup, a ceasefire deal was signed between the two Ukrainian conflicting sides during a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine in Minsk on September 5.
Since the conflict escalated, Kiev and the West have been accusing Russia of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs and sending troops to Ukraine – claims that Moscow has repeatedly denied.