WASHINGTON – The Pentagon says that in a phone call, Russia's defense minister has assured Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russian forces along Ukraine's eastern border have no intention of crossing into Ukrainian territory.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said that in an hour-long conversation Thursday, Hagel asked for an explanation of Russian intentions for the thousands of troops positioned near the Ukrainian border. Kirby said Hagel was told that the troops are there for just one purpose: to conduct training exercises.
Kirby said Hagel was assured that there would be no incursion into Ukraine.
Hagel asserted to his Russian counterpart that because Russian forces are in control of the Crimean Peninsula, they bear responsibility for what happens there.