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    U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while he delivers remarks about Ukraine while in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, July 16, 2014.

    Obama Signs Ukraine Freedom Support Act: Psaki

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    State Department’s spokesperson Jen Psaki announced that US President Barack Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, providing lethal and non-lethal aid to the Ukrainian government and imposing a new round of economic sanctions on Russia’s defense, energy and finance sectors.

    WASHINGTON, December 18 (Sputnik) — US President Barack Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, the State Department’s spokesperson said.

    “He signed it yesterday,” Jen Psaki, the State Department’s spokesperson said Wednesday at a press briefing, when asked about the sanctions bill that president Obama is about the sign.

    A December 17 update to the White House website shows the legislation is still pending Obama’s signature.

    Despite his opposition to the bill, Obama said he intended to sign the Ukraine Freedom and Support Act after the measure easily passed the US House of Representatives and Senate.

    White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said Tuesday that Obama intended to sign the Ukraine Freedom Support Act by the end of the week.

    In September, during his visit to the United States, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko pressured the Congress and US President Barack Obama to provide more lethal and non-lethal military equipment to the Ukrainian forces, but the White House rebuffed his request for weapons.

    US Policy Not to Lethally Arm Ukraine Unchanged

    The US policy of not arming Ukraine with lethal weapons remains unchanged despite the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

    “It [Ukraine Freedom Support Act] provides that opportunity or flexibility, it doesn’t mean that policy has changed and it hasn’t changed,” Psaki said, referring to provisions in the act that authorize lethally arming Ukraine.

    Obama is supposed to sign the Ukraine Freedom and Support Act by the end of the week, according to the White House officials. The bill authorizes, but does not mandate the president to provide lethal and non-lethal aid to the Ukrainian government and to impose a new round of economic sanctions on Russia’s defense, energy and finance sectors.

    Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said Wednesday that the United States is willing to give equipment to Ukraine and train Ukrainian forces.

    “[The United States] beginning now to do the equipping and training of the Ukrainian units, which is the most important thing to help them to be at their best now,” Nuland said during the event at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

    She added that the country is "willing to give heavy armor and those kinds of things, including night vision, communications gear" and other equipment that the Ukrainians may need.

    Nuland stressed that in 2014, US security assistance package to Ukraine totaled $118 million with at least $70 million spent to improve country’s border security.

    During his visit to the United States in September 2014, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko pressured the Congress and US President Barack Obama to provide more lethal and nonlethal military equipment to the Ukrainian forces, but the White House rebuffed his request for weapons.

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    Ukraine Freedom Support Act (22)

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