Ukraine in the State Department Daily Press Brief by John Kirby, Spokesperson

QUESTION:  On Ukraine.

MR KIRBY:  Sure.

QUESTION:  President Poroshenko – he referred to the attacks over the weekend, or the clashes between the Right Sector nationalists and the local security forces.  He called them an act of terror.  He said no political force should have its own militia in the field, referring to the Right Sector, and he called for a disarming of the illegal militia groups.  What are your thoughts on those comments, and especially, does the U.S. agree that the Right Sector should be disarmed and in en masse, meaning the whole force, even the ones fighting alongside Ukraine security forces in eastern Ukraine?

MR KIRBY:  Let me put it this way:  The violence you’re referring to is totally unacceptable, totally unacceptable.  And we expect all Ukrainians, no matter their affiliation or organization, to respect law and order.  We further expect any grievances to be worked out through – to be worked out peacefully and lawfully.  And there’s no room for vigilante justice or making demands at the barrel of a gun.

So ultimately, in terms of the Right Sector and where they are in terms of Ukraine’s security apparatus, it’s up to the Government of Ukraine to decide how this integration is going to be implemented.  But we continue to urge the Ukrainian Government, as we have, to complete this transition as soon as possible precisely because of concerns such as the gun battle reported over the weekend.

QUESTION:  The – so you’re in discussions with them about that gun battle?

MR KIRBY:  We have been in discussions with them routinely about all the activities inside Ukraine.  I don’t have any specific diplomatic conversations to read out with respect to this, but our position writ large about the transition of the security forces has been well known.  And I’d point out that Assistant Secretary Nuland is in Kyiv today.  So we routinely talk to them about this.

QUESTION:  Yeah, the spotlight has been on the Right Sector now, and it just – the question is, from the U.S. interests, we’re going to be there – or we’re there training these troops; are you worried about this Right Sector?  They seem to be fighting right alongside.

MR KIRBY:  We are —

QUESTION:  They boast 10,000 fighters and —

MR KIRBY:  We’re not – the U.S. is not training any members of Right Sector.  And we continue to look forward to working with Ukraine to identify the best candidates for the U.S.-provided training.