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Defense Secretary: US 'Stepping Up' Measures to Support Allies Amid Ukraine Crisis

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the United States is stepping up measures to support its European allies during the crisis in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.

Hagel said the U.S. Department of Defense was increasing joint training through the U.S. aviation detachment in Poland, and augmenting U.S. participation in NATO's air policing on the Baltic peninsula.

He said the events in Ukraine "underscore the need for America's continued global engagement and leadership." Hagel said the U.S. administration will remain focused on de-escalating the crisis, supporting the Ukraine government economically and reaffirming commitments to allies in the region during this "defining moment."

The administration has already announced a $1 billion economic aid package to Ukraine's government to help stabilize the Ukraine economy and support elections set for later this year. Hagel called the aid package "particularly important" along with diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis.

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An armed pro-Russian separatist stands guard as OSCE and members of a Malaysian air crash investigation team inspect the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Rozsypne, Donetsk region on July 22, 2014.

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