WASHINGTON – The Defense Department has “put on hold” military-to-military activities with Russia, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said this evening.
In a statement released to reporters, Kirby said the suspended activities include exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences.
Although the Defense Department finds value in the military-to-military relationship developed in recent years with the Russian Federation to increase transparency, build understanding and reduce the risk of military miscalculation, Kirby said, “we have, in light of recent events in Ukraine, put on hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia.”
The Defense Department is closely monitoring the situation and remains in close contact with the State Department and other government agencies, as well as with allies, partners and NATO, the admiral said. “We call on Russia to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine and for Russian forces in Crimea to return to their bases, as required under the agreements governing the Russia Black Sea Fleet,” he added.
Though some media outlets are speculating on possible ship movements in the region, Kirby said, there has been no change to U.S. military posture in Europe or the Mediterranean Sea.
“Our Navy units continue to conduct routine, previously planned operations and exercises with allies and partners in the region," the press secretary said.