Secretary Meets With Ukrainian Defense Minister in London
Defense Secretary Ash Carter today said the United States and its allies remain committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during his bilateral meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak at the U.N. Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial in London, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a readout of the meeting.
Carter is in London as part of a three-day trip to the U.K. and Norway.
The two leaders discussed the fragile ceasefire between the Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces, Cook said. Carter emphasized that the United States, together with its allies, remains committed to the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements in support of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, the press secretary said.
As a demonstration of continued U.S. support for Ukraine, Carter and Poltorak co-signed a bilateral partner concept, a document that provides a framework for the United States and Ukraine to enhance the defense capacity of Ukraine's forces, advance critical Ukrainian defense reforms, improve resource management processes and boost defense technology cooperation, Cook said.
This partner concept will build on the strong partnership between the U.S. and Ukraine and will enhance the effectiveness of U.S. security assistance efforts, the press secretary said. Since 2014, Cook said, the United States has committed more than $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including training programs to enhance Ukraine's internal defense capabilities, equipment to support the operational needs of Ukraine's security forces and a robust advisory effort to advance the implementation of key defense reforms.
Carter also urged Poltorak to remain committed to the ambitious Ukrainian program of comprehensive defense reforms to make Ukraine's defense enterprise more effective and efficient, the press secretary said.
Abizaid Becomes Defense Advisor
In response to a Ukrainian request, Cook said, Carter today named retired Army Gen. John Abizaid, former commander of U.S. Central Command, as a senior defense advisor to Ukraine.
Abizaid will provide authoritative advice to Poltorak and other senior Ukrainian officials, Cook said, as Ukraine aims to implement reforms designed to bring its armed forces in line with Western principles and standards, such as enhancing democratic civilian control of the military, transitioning to a NATO-interoperable staff structure, and combatting corruption.