U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Russia is undermining the sovereignty of European nations during his visit to Ukraine. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on a visit to Ukraine on Thursday (August 24) said Washington would continue to put pressure on Russia over what he called its aggressive behaviour, but stopped short of promising to provide lethal weapons to Kiev. "We do not and we will not accept Russia's siege of the Crimea and despite Russia's denial, we know they are seeking to re-draw international borders by force, undermining the sovereign and free nations of Europe," he told press. Mattis's visit, timed to coincide with Ukrainian Independence Day, is the second high-profile show of U.S. support in as many months, after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came to Kiev in July. Ukraine has counted on U.S. support against Russia since a pro-Western government took power following street protests in 2014 when the Kremlin-backed president fled the country.