Pentagon chief meets with Georgian defense minister on Ukraine


U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met on Wednesday with Georgian Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania to discuss the situation in Ukraine, according to a statement released by the U.S. Defense Department.

"The two leaders discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. They reviewed the efforts by allies and partners in the region to reinforce international commitments and to continue to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Moscow," the statement said.

Hagel also thanked Alasania for Georgia's contributions to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan, and he encouraged Georgia to continue the progress it has made on defense reform and NATO interoperability, according to the statement.

"Secretary Hagel reaffirmed the importance of the U.S. partnership with Georgia, and pledged to continue our strong defense cooperation," it added.

Tensions remained unabated in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia militants are engaged in conflicts with the government troops.