US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Ukrainian Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak take questions at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, September 24, 2015. (Stars and Stripes)
The US and Ukraine have agreed to cooperate on military technology and enhance Ukrainian military capabilities, according to the US Defense Department.
The partnership aims "to enhance the defense capacity of Ukraine's forces, advance critical Ukrainian defense reforms, improve resource management processes and boost defense technology cooperation," the Pentagon said in a statement on Thursday.
The statement followed a meeting between US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan Poltorak in London.
The two officials signed the partnership agreement and also discussed the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian government forces are fighting Russia-backed forces.
Carter, speaking to reporters, called it a "very, very important agreement" to help further Ukraine's military capabilities.
The Pentagon chief also named retired Army General John Abizaid, former head of US Central Command, as a senior defense adviser to Ukraine to help Poltorak and other Ukrainian officials implement the agreement.
A conflict erupted between Russia-backed fighters and Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine in April 2014 following the reunification of the Crimean peninsula with the Russian mainland.
The United States and its European allies accuse Moscow of destabilizing Ukraine.
Moscow, however, rejects any involvement in the crisis gripping Ukraine and blames the West for the bloodshed that has plagued the country and left more than 9,000 people dead and over 20,000 others injured.
The US and some other Western countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia over its support of anti-Kiev fighters in Ukraine.
Earlier this year, US President Barack Obama signed a new executive order that extends economic sanctions against Russia for another year.

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