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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says it is planning to expand its training of Ukrainian security forces with small-unit exercises for personnel from Kiev’s Defense Ministry.

The State Department announced Friday that the training would begin this fall in western Ukraine. It said the program is similar to training now being provided to the Ukrainian National Guard.

Spokesman Mark Toner said the new program would increase to more than $244 million the amount of U.S. security assistance provided to Ukraine since last year when conflict between Kiev and Russian-backed separatists escalated in the east of the country.