American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 20, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel received an update on the situation in Crimea yesterday during a phone conversation with Ukrainian Minister of Defense Ihor Tenyukh, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a Defense Department news release.
During the conversation, Hagel “reiterated that he appreciated the restraint exhibited by Ukrainian Armed Forces and expressed his condolences for the death of the Ukrainian soldier yesterday,” Kirby said in the release. News reports say a Ukrainian soldier was killed March 18 during an exchange of gunfire at a Ukrainian military base in Crimea.
Kirby said Hagel also “stressed again to Minister Tenyukh that the United States stands by the people of Ukraine, condemns the use of force by the Russian Federation and continues to call for the removal of Russian forces.
"Secretary Hagel assured Minister Tenyukh that he continues to monitor the situation closely,” Kirby continued, “and that it is important for the two leaders to remain in touch with one another."