Image copyright Viktor Drachev/AFP via Getty Images
By Jeff Schogol
Copyright 2014 Military Times
The U.S. has condemned the Russian incursion into Ukraine and now the Pentagon has suspended its military-to-military relationship with Russia, including exercises and planning conferences, a Defense Department spokesman said.
The Defense Department is closely monitoring the situation on the ground in Ukraine and is calling for Russian troops to return to their bases in the Crimea, Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.
“Some media outlets are speculating on possible ship movements in the region,” Kirby said in the statement on Monday. “There has been no change to our military posture in Europe or the Mediterranean; our Navy units continue to conduct routine, previously planned operations and exercises with allies and partners in the region.”
While no U.S. troops are in Ukraine, several hundred personnel are in the region, according to U.S. European Command.
About 200 Marines and sailors are in Romania, where they are spending a yearlong rotation working with troops from the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus regions, said Navy Capt. Gregory Hicks, a spokesman for EUCOM.
The Black Sea Rotational Force 14 rotation began in September and includes live-fire exercises, such as small arms and dismount firing and moving, according to a news release from Marine Forces Europe and Africa.