Europe

Retired US general to advise Ukraine's defense minister

  • FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2007 file photo, retired Army Gen. John Abizaid, speaks in San Francisco. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has appointed Abizaid as a special adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister. The Pentagon says Abizaid will advise defense chief Stepan Poltorak as Ukraine tries to strengthen democratic civilian control of its military, take on corruption and put in place other reforms.  (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2007 file photo, retired Army Gen. John Abizaid, speaks in San Francisco. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has appointed Abizaid as a special adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister. The Pentagon says Abizaid will advise defense chief Stepan Poltorak as Ukraine tries to strengthen democratic civilian control of its military, take on corruption and put in place other reforms. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this April 20, 2016 file photo, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak speaks in Kiev, Ukraine. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has appointed a retired U.S. Army general as a special adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister. The Pentagon says Abizaid will advise defense chief Stepan Poltorak as Ukraine tries to strengthen democratic civilian control of its military, take on corruption and put in place other reforms.  (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, File)

    FILE - In this April 20, 2016 file photo, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak speaks in Kiev, Ukraine. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has appointed a retired U.S. Army general as a special adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister. The Pentagon says Abizaid will advise defense chief Stepan Poltorak as Ukraine tries to strengthen democratic civilian control of its military, take on corruption and put in place other reforms. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, File)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has appointed a retired U.S. Army general as special adviser to Ukraine's defense minister.

The Pentagon says John Abizaid (AB'-ih-zayd) will advise defense chief Stepan Poltorak as Ukraine tries to strengthen democratic civilian control of its military, take on corruption and put in place other reforms.

Carter and Poltorak met Thursday on the sidelines of a U.N. peacekeeping conference in London. Carter tells reporters the appointment is not a signal of U.S. plans to help Ukraine in offensive operations against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.

Carter says "it continues in the same vein" of defensive-oriented U.S. military assistance.

Abizaid led Central Command from July 2003 to March 2007. It oversees U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and the Mideast, including against the Islamic State group.