A small U.S. survey and assessment team has arrived in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev to assist in investigation efforts into the crash of a Malaysian airliner last month, a Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday.
The team of about 12 service members will assess, advise and provide recommendations to the U.S. embassy and their staff about possible U.S. support to the Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia and other countries that are conducting Malaysia Airliner MH17 recovery operations, John Kirby said at a Pentagon press conference.
The troops provide expertise in recovery operations -- specifically communications, logistics and surveying -- and they will not leave Kiev, Kirby said.
"Recovery operations are something, tragically and unfortunately, the U.S. military has to do and has to be good at," the admiral said.
On Ukraine's southeastern border, heavy equipment continues to flow back and forth across the border from Russia in support of separatists there, Kirby said, adding that Russia continues to reinforce its troops in the area.
More than 10,000 Russian troops are now deployed on the border, he said, adding that "numbers aren't the key metric" in determining the troop presence's effects on the region.
"What matters is that Russia continues to reinforce these units, that they are very capable and very ready across what we call combined arms capabilities -- armor, artillery, air defense, special forces -- and that they are closer to the border than they were in the spring," the admiral said. WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (Xinhua)