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U.S. Senate Panel Advances Carter For Defense Secretary

A U.S. Senate committee has backed President Barack Obama's pick to run the Pentagon.

The 26-member Senate Armed Services Committee on February 10 voted 25-0 to endorse Ashton Carter.

Carter, who served as deputy defense secretary from 2011 to 2013, is expected to be confirmed in the full Senate later this week.

He would replace Chuck Hagel as Pentagon chief.

Carter has told the Senate committee he was leaning in favor of providing lethal military aid to Ukraine, where government forces have been battling pro-Russian separatists since April.

He also said he would be open to reviewing the schedule for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 if security conditions there worsen.

About 10,600 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan after most foreign combat troops withdrew at the end of 2014.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP