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Secretary Pledges Support in Meetings With Leaders in Ukraine

Aug. 25, 2017 , DOD News
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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pledged continued U.S. support to build the capacity of Ukraine's forces and applauded Ukraine's commitment to modernizing its defense sector according to NATO standards in meetings with two of the country's top leaders yesterday in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stands in front of an outdoor monument.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pays respects to the fallen at the National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred in Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2017. DoD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stands in front of an outdoor monument.
Heavenly Hundred
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pays respects to the fallen at the National Memorial to the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred in Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2017. DoD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr
Photo By: Jette Carr
VIRIN: 170824-D-GY869-1114L

Mattis met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and later with Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak as part of an overseas trip. This was his first official meeting with Poltorak, White said in a statement summarizing the meetings.

Steadfast Partnership

In both discussions, White said, the leaders emphasized the steadfast partnership between the two countries.

"The leaders also discussed the strategic challenges associated with Russian aggression and the need for Russia to adhere to its commitments under the Minsk agreements, including an immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons, and unfettered access for security monitors in eastern Ukraine," she added.

The secretary also attended a military parade commemorating Ukraine's Independence Day alongside Poroshenko and eight defense ministers from allied and partner nations, White said.