By Lisa Ferdinando
US Defense officials are concerned about the recent violence in eastern Ukraine, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.
The violence has been largely centered around Avdiivka-Yasynuvata, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, the director of defense press operations, told reporters at the Pentagon.
“We’re deeply concerned with the recent spike in violence in eastern Ukraine,” he said. “We reaffirm U.S. support for full implementation of the Minsk agreements and we continue to provide security assistance to Ukraine.”
Assistance for Ukraine
Davis pointed out the 2016 package of U.S. security assistance to Ukraine was $335 million. The training program is being conducted by about 350 U.S. soldiers in cooperation with other allies and partners, he said.
“We have a robust advisory effort to advance the implementation of key defense reforms and equipment to support the operational needs of Ukraine’s security forces,” he said.
“We do however continue to believe that there’s no military solution to the crisis and that the Minsk agreements are the only way to resolve the conflict peacefully,” he said.
“Our focus has been on supporting Ukraine and pursuing a durable diplomatic solution that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
Davis described the violence as the most significant flare up there since 2015.
“We’re troubled by it, we’ve taken note of it,” he said. “I can tell you what we haven’t seen is any sort of large-scale movement of Russian forces that would suggest that this is part of something bigger.”