Russian: No military moves planned against Ukraine

A Russian flag waves on a tent set by anti-Yanukovych protesters in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Saturday, March 1, 2014. Russia's parliament granted President Vladimir Putin permission to use the country's military in Ukraine and also recommended Saturday that Moscow's ambassador be recalled from Washington over comments made by President Barack Obama. The unanimous vote in an emergency session formalized what Ukrainian officials described as an invasion of Russian troops in the strategic region of Crimea. With pro-Russian protests breaking out in other parts of Ukraine, Moscow now could send its military elsewhere in Ukraine.(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A Russian flag waves on a tent set by anti-Yanukovych protesters in Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Saturday, March 1, 2014. Russia's parliament granted President Vladimir Putin permission to use the country's military in Ukraine and also recommended Saturday that Moscow's ambassador be recalled from Washington over comments made by President Barack Obama. The unanimous vote in an emergency session formalized what Ukrainian officials described as an invasion of Russian troops in the strategic region of Crimea. With pro-Russian protests breaking out in other parts of Ukraine, Moscow now could send its military elsewhere in Ukraine.(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says that in a phone call, Russia’s defense minister has assured Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russian forces along Ukraine’s eastern border have no intention of crossing into Ukrainian territory.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said that in an hour-long conversation Thursday, Hagel asked for an explanation of Russian intentions for the thousands of troops positioned near the Ukrainian border. Kirby said Hagel was told that the troops are there for just one purpose: to conduct training exercises.

Kirby said Hagel was assured that there would be no incursion into Ukraine.

Hagel asserted to his Russian counterpart that because Russian forces are in control of the Crimean Peninsula, they bear responsibility for what happens there.

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