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U.S. Calling on Russia to Lower Tensions With Ukraine, DOD Official Says

  • April 06, 2021

John F. Kirby spoke to reporters at the Pentagon today about Ukraine and a number of other places.

Aircraft fly in formation.

Aircraft fly in formation.

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.

Troops exit a helicopter.

Troops exit a helicopter.

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.

Tanks move through the desert.

Tanks move through the desert.

Mozambique

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.

Troops offload relief supplies from a helicopter.

Troops offload relief supplies from a helicopter.

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.

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