US defense officials are in Kiev, Ukraine, this week where they will meet with Ukrainian Defense Minister Michail Koval to discuss “regional security, defense cooperation, and areas for growth,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said in an April 1 release. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randy Kee, director of strategy and policy for US European Command; and Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine, and Euraisa policy; participated in the bilateral defense consultations, states the release. Ukraine has requested the US’ assistance in planning a humanitarian assistance command post exercise, and though Warren said the topic would likely be addressed during the discussions no final decision had been made. “This is an example of our ongoing support and our commitment to the bilateral defense relationship with Ukraine,” said Warren.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.