Ukrainian Defense Minister Refuses Secretary Hagel's Calls

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense refuses to take the phone calls of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has tried repeatedly to reach out to his counterpart there since early last week, Pentagon Spokesman RADM John Kirby said at a Pentagon press briefing Thursday.

“We are continuing our efforts to arrange for the secretary to communicate directly with Minister Lebedev, but so far, the Ministry of Defense has been unresponsive to our requests,” Kirby said.

Despite the fact that Secretary Hagel has personally attempted the outreach he has still been unable to speak with Minister Lebedev, Kirby said.  The two defense leaders last spoke in December.

Kirby said the Pentagon is increasingly concerned by violence in the region and even more worried about the recent dismissal of Ukraine’s top general.