The United States is calling on Russia to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and not provoke or increase tensions, said the Pentagon press secretary.
John F. Kirby spoke to reporters at the Pentagon today about Ukraine and a number of other places.
It’s difficult to speak about Russian intent, Kirby said, noting that they have a troop buildup in Crimea and in other areas on the border of the two nations to the southeast.
The U.S. is continuing to monitor the situation there, he said, adding that the U.S. has provided Ukraine with non-lethal and lethal items that allow them to better defend themselves.
“We continue to call for the ceasefires that were called for by the Minsk Agreement, and then … to bring the temperature down, to de-escalate,” Kirby said.
Syria and Iraq
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria remains a threat in Iraq and Syria, albeit a much diminished threat from its peak in 2014, Kirby said.
Kirby noted that the Syrian Democratic Forces have successfully executed a series of operations to arrest or kill ISIS fighters, particularly in the al-Hawl area of northeastern Syria, where more than 125 were detained by the SDF. “We certainly congratulate them on a successful operation, and we’ll continue to support them in the mission to defeat ISIS.”
Kirby added that the U.S. also supports Iraq in its efforts to degrade and eradicate ISIS.
U.S. special operations forces have been training Mozambique Marines, Kirby said, noting that the purpose of the training is to improve that nation’s counterterrorism capability.
The training program, which is called joint combined exchange training, began March 15 and will last for two months, he said.
China and Taiwan
The U.S. is monitoring Chinese naval exercises in the vicinity of Taiwan, Kirby said.
Nothing has changed with regard to U.S. support for the so-called “One China Policy,” he said. The U.S. continues to provide Taiwan with self-defense capabilities.