WASHINGTON, June 2, 2014 – A team of senior Defense Department leaders recently returned from two days of “productive meetings” with Ukrainian leadership in Kiev, Ukraine, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters today.
Derek Chollet, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, led the team meeting in advance of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart and President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit with president-elect Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw, Poland, Warren said.
Discussions between DOD leaders and Ukrainian officials centered on “the ongoing violence perpetrated by Russian separatists in the east, [and] U.S. assistance measures, including the $18 million in security assistance pledged thus far,” Warren said. “They also look forward to ways the U.S. and Ukraine can strengthen their long-term cooperation.”
Leaders agreed that DOD will soon send a small team of advisors to assess Ukraine’s mid- and long-term needs for defense reform, the colonel said, adding that the assessment will “help shape and establish an enduring program for future U.S. efforts to support the Ukrainian military.”
Beginning in a few weeks, the advisory team -- comprising military and civilian experts in defense reform, training and strategy development -- will go to Ukraine to begin working with Ukrainian officials, Warren said.