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US to contribute $4 million for construction of explosive storehouses in Ukraine

Multinational marines provide support during an improvised explosive device training evolution during a joint land component demonstration as part of exercise Sea Breeze 2011 co-hosted by the Ukrainian and U.S. Navies. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Caitlin Conroy/U.S. Navy)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The United States says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ukraine to enhance the safety of the country’s stockpiles of conventional munitions.

“The memorandum sets out a $4 million U.S. contribution toward construction of six explosive storehouses over the next two years for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense,” the State Department said in a statement on June 25.

The document was signed by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper and the acting director of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s Directorate of International Security, Ruslan Nimchynskyi.

The statement said that the project will “enhance the safety and security of Ukraine’s munitions stockpiles, as well as advance Ukraine closer to its goal of meeting NATO and international standards for physical security and stockpile management.”

It said the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction program had invested more than $40 million from 2004 to 2018 “in support of Ukraine’s effort to address the legacy of the large quantities of conventional arms and ammunition inherited” after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In recent years, there have been several explosions and fires at arms depots in Ukraine, a country mired in a simmering war with Russia-backed separatists.

Blasts at a munitions depot near the town of Ichnya in October last year prompted the evacuation of about 12,000 people.