Defense Officials 'Deeply Concerned' About Violence in Eastern Ukraine


Defense officials are concerned about the recent violence in eastern Ukraine, a Defense Department spokesman said today.

Soldiers fire a live round from an M1A2 battle tank during an accuracy test in Swietozow, Poland, Jan. 16, 2017. The soldiers are assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. The unit's arrival marks the start of rotations of armored brigades in Europe. This rotation will enhance deterrence capabilities in the region, improve the U.S. ability to respond to potential crises, and defend allies and partners in the European community. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke
Defense officials are concerned about the recent violence largely centered around Avdiivka-Yasynuvata in eastern Ukraine, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, the director of defense press operations, told reporters at the Pentagon, Feb. 7, 2017. Pictured here, U.S. soldiers fire a live round from an M1A2 battle tank during an accuracy test in Swietozow, Poland, Jan. 16, 2017. The soldiers are assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. The unit's arrival marks the start of rotations of armored brigades in Europe. This rotation will enhance deterrence capabilities in the region, improve the U.S. ability to respond to potential crises, and defend allies and partners in the European community. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke
Soldiers fire a live round from an M1A2 battle tank during an accuracy test in Swietozow, Poland, Jan. 16, 2017. The soldiers are assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. The unit's arrival marks the start of rotations of armored brigades in Europe. This rotation will enhance deterrence capabilities in the region, improve the U.S. ability to respond to potential crises, and defend allies and partners in the European community. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke
Battle Tank Test
Defense officials are concerned about the recent violence largely centered around Avdiivka-Yasynuvata in eastern Ukraine, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, the director of defense press operations, told reporters at the Pentagon, Feb. 7, 2017. Pictured here, U.S. soldiers fire a live round from an M1A2 battle tank during an accuracy test in Swietozow, Poland, Jan. 16, 2017. The soldiers are assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. The unit's arrival marks the start of rotations of armored brigades in Europe. This rotation will enhance deterrence capabilities in the region, improve the U.S. ability to respond to potential crises, and defend allies and partners in the European community. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke
Photo By: Staff Sgt. Micah VanDyke
VIRIN: 170116-A-KU062-519C

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."