11 Mar 2015 By Peter Foster, Washington and agencies
Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, says Britain also planning to increase its assistance
The US announced it was stepping up non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine on Wednesday with a $75m (£50m) package that includes armoured Humvees and surveillance drones. The moves come as US and Nato officials report that Russia has continued to move men and materiel, including tanks, into eastern Ukraine since the February 12 ceasefire that was brokered in Minsk by Germany and France. The US also announced new economic sanctions to be targeted at officials in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in Ukraine as well as the Russian National Commercial Bank and a nationalist Russian group. The new measures will be accompanied by a US$5 billion credit from the International Monetary Fund which is expected in the coming days but falls far short of the demands from more hawkish members of the US Congress to provide lethal aide to Kiev. Mr Obama has resisted pressure from Congress and several senior officials in his administration, including his defence secretary, Ashton Carter, and secretary of state, John Kerry, to provide lethal support to Ukraine’s embattled armed forces.