WASHINGTON — The United States will deliver Humvees and drones to Ukraine and hit rebel leaders and their alleged supporters in Russia with further sanctions, after repeated ceasefire violations, officials said Wednesday.
More than $75 million worth of "non-lethal defensive" equipment will be sent to Kiev, a senior administration official said.
The package will include 30 armored and up to 200 unarmored Humvees, unarmed Raven drones, counter-mortar radars, night vision devices, first aid kits and military ambulances.
The package stops short of providing Ukraine with lethal military assistance, which advocates say would help Kiev repel rebel advances.
"Increasing arms and lethal aid to the region would only increase bloodshed," the White House said earlier this week.
New sanctions targeted officials in the self-proclaimed rebel Donetsk People's Republic in Ukraine as well as the Russian National Commercial Bank and a nationalist Russian group.
The Russian National Commercial Bank has become the largest bank in Crimea since Russia seized the region from Ukraine one year ago.
Also listed was the Eurasian Youth Union, a nationalist Russian group said to recruit fighters to join the rebels, and three officials of the former Ukraine government of Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Moscow president overthrown in an uprising in February 2014.
The sanctions freeze any assets of the individuals and institutions held on US property and ban Americans from doing business with them.
'No Military Resolution'
The latest measures were unveiled after US complaints that Moscow has sent "thousands and thousands" of troops and "hundreds of pieces of military equipment" across the border to Ukraine in support of pro-Russian rebels.
"While we continue to believe that there is no military resolution to this crisis, Ukraine has the right to defend itself," the US official said.
Moscow denies any military involvement in the conflict.
Despite a Feb. 12 agreement to halt hostilities, fighting has occurred in Debaltseve, Donetsk and the southeastern port of Mariupol, killing at least 65 Ukrainian troops.
There has also been an escalation of tensions between Russia and the West.
Moscow has withdrawn from the landmark Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe and the United States has begun to deploy 3,000 troops on a three-month exercise to the Baltic region.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has refused to attend a May 9 Victory Day parade in Moscow but will visit the Russian capital a day later.
The conflict has taken a heavy toll on Ukraine's economy, with Kiev hoping for IMF approval Wednesday of a $17.5 billion aid package needed to pull the country from the brink of bankruptcy.
The conflict has killed over 6,000 people since it began 11 months ago.