Tags: Hagel | Ukraine | phone | reply

Anyone There? Hagel Fails to Get Through to Ukraine

Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 11:34 PM

By Cathy Burke

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has gotten stonewalled by his Ukrainian counterpart — no one is picking up the phone to answer calls he's been making all week.

"We've been trying pretty diligently," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Thursday. "It's pretty unusual."

"The secretary, like all Americans, is deeply troubled by the violence there and shares the outrage of so many over images of the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior forces firing automatic weapons at their own people," Kirby said, according to Stars and Stripes.

"He urges the Ukrainian armed forces to continue to refrain from participating in the conflict, a conflict that can and should be resolved politically."

Kirby said Hagel won't give up on his phone call attempts.

"We are continuing our efforts to arrange for the secretary to communicate directly with [Ukrainian Defense Minister Pavel] Lebedev, but so far the Ministry of Defense has been unresponsive to our requests," he said.

The last time the pair spoke was in December, he added.

Hagel routinely reaches out to counterparts, especially to urge military leaders to stay out of political crises, ABC News reported.

So far, so good, Kirby said, reporting the military is protecting military bases and storage facilities and is not involved in violence against protesters.

Hagel isn't the only senior defense leader out of luck when it comes to reaching the Ukrainian military; NATO Supreme Commander Gen. Phillip Breedlove took to social media Wednesday to urge the Ukrainian military to avoid the conflict.





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