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U.S., Ukraine To Deepen Defense Cooperation

  • RFE/RL

The United States and Ukraine have agreed to deepen defense cooperation, with a retired U.S. Army general being appointed special adviser to Ukraine's defense minister.

The Pentagon said in a statement released on September 8 that John Abizaid will advise Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak as Ukraine tries to reform oversight of its armed forces and root out the endemic corruption that has hobbled it in its fight against Russia-backed separatists.

The announcement came as Washington and Kyiv agreed to cooperate further on defense technology and improve Ukraine's forces.

The announcement, however, includes no mention of offensive weaponry like Javelin antitank missiles, which Kyiv says would greatly fortify its forces against Russia-backed separatists.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter reiterated that in the statement, saying Abizaid's appointment should not be interpreted not a signal of U.S. plans to help Ukraine in offensive operations.

Abizaid oversaw U.S. Central Command from 2003 to 2007, when U.S. forces were in the depths of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With reporting by AP