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Ukrainian Defense Officials Rebuff Hagel's Calls

<p>Pentagon says repeated attempts by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to reach anyone in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry this week were "unsuccessful."</p>

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was rebuffed despite his numerous attempts to reach Ukrainian Defense officials by telephone this week, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Thursday.

Kirby said repeated attempts to reach anyone in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry were "unsuccessful." According to Kirby Ukrainian officials refused to even answer the phone. Hagel was apparently prepared to reiterate President Barack Obama's warning to the Ukraine government not to use its military forces against civilians in Kiev.

Kirby added that as of now, Ukrainian military forces have only been deployed to protect military and weapons installations, not to confront or put down protestors.

The White House and Pentagon have warned that any use of Ukrainian military to crackdown on protestors would have "serious consequences" in the military-to-military relationship.

Asked if the refusal to take Hagel's phone calls would damage that relationship, Kirby told reporters, "It's certainly not helpful."