Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met today with Ukrainian Defense Minister Dmytro Kuleba, pledging the United States' support in the wake of Russia's "invasion" of Ukraine.
"Russia's latest invasion is threatening the peace and security and prosperity of Ukraine and [the] trans-Atlantic community,” Austin, according to a Pentagon pool report.
“So, let's be clear, the U.S. support for Ukraine's self-defense, sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering,” he continued.
Austin said he wanted to commend Kuleba for Ukraine’s “measured response and for continuing your nation's call for a peaceful diplomatic solution in the face of Russia's aggression, provocations and false accusations.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered troops into areas of Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists and made a speech asserting that “modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia.”
Putin has taken additional steps that the White House and other western nations fear could lead to broader military conflict in Ukraine.
“We will continue to work closely with you and remain in lockstep with our allies and partners in trying to find a way to avoid further conflict,” Austin said. “Mr. Putin can still avoid a full-blown, tragic war of choice.”