“On February 5, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US Government intends to provide $16.4 million in new humanitarian assistance to help Ukrainians affected by the violence in the Donbas,” the statement said. “The funding will be used to support the Ukrainian Government’s response to the crisis caused by Russia’s aggressive actions and will also help alleviate the suffering of people in conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine, including Donetsk and Luhansk. Many of these people are extremely vulnerable and unable to leave.”
According to the release, the assistance will provide urgently needed shelter and home repairs, blankets, bedding, warm clothing, and other support to meet the most critical humanitarian needs.
Kerry also announced on Thursday that Washington will allocate $1 billion in financial aid to Kiev in addition to $1 billion already allocated to support reform of the Ukrainian government
The promise of more funds comes amid reports that Washington is also considering supplying lethal aid to Kiev, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, arms and ammunition.
Kiev has been particularly persistent in its requests for US arms supplies during and in the months after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s visit to Washington last year. The US administration has so far objected to providing Ukraine with lethal aid, though the White House has previously indicated its willingness to reassess that position.
The Russian Emergencies Ministry said Saturday that its 12th humanitarian aid convoy to the conflict-torn Donbas region in Ukraine’s southeast has reached the border.
Eleven Russian convoys have delivered more than 14,800 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Donbas since August, according to the Russian Emergencies Ministry.
An armed conflict has raged in southeastern Ukraine since April last year, when Kiev launched a military offensive against local independence supporters. Months of fighting have put the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces on the verge of a humanitarian disaster, as important infrastructure has been destroyed and many local residents have been left without food, drinking water and electricity.
Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine’s east the United States and its allies have accused Russia of backing independence supporters, including providing military assistance. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims.