During a telephone conversation between Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the U.S. side promised to support Ukraine in case of Russian aggression,reported the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
The conversation took place on April 1 at the initiative of the United States. Taran spoke about the military and political aspects of the situation in the Donbas, Crimea and around Ukrainian borders.
The Ukrainian Minister of Defense specifically focused on the events of March 26, when pro-Russian forces killed four Ukrainian soldiers. Taran also pointed to the escalation of Russian aggression and Russia’s reluctance to reaffirm its commitment to the ceasefire.
Austin expressed concern about Russia's actions, assured his Ukrainian counterpart that the U.S. is committed to supporting Ukraine and stressed that the U.S. "will not leave Ukraine alone" and will not allow Russia to go through with its aggressive intentions.
Taran noted that the dialogue at the level Ukrainian and American defense agencies is developing dynamically and the U.S. side initiates contacts. He added that today's call by Austin is a demonstration of the active position of the United States in supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and restoration of its territorial integrity.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Ruslan Khomchak, said that Russia is increasing the number of its troops near Ukrainian borders.
Due to the buildup of Russian troops near Donbas, the U.S. European Command has raised the watch level to the maximum ("potential inevitable crisis").
Ukrainian intelligence reported that Russia is preparing to send troops to Ukraine.
The Kremlin said it had the right to move its troops within Russian territory and that should not worry anyone.