- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

BRUSSELS (AP) - NATO defense ministers have approved an expanded assistance package for Ukraine, whose military forces are battling a Russian-backed insurgency in the country’s east.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the package approved Wednesday aims at helping Ukraine “establish more effective defense and security structures,” and strengthen civilian control of the Ukrainian armed forces.

The U.S.-led NATO alliance has already been assisting Ukraine in many areas, including in improving logistics, cyberdefense and rehabilitating wounded soldiers.

NATO officials said the expanded program will add new projects on countering hybrid warfare and booby traps and other explosive devices, as well as strategic communications.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is expected to attend next month’s NATO summit in Warsaw to discuss the next steps for the projects’ implementation.

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