Under Secretary of State: Ukraine’s territorial integrity remains priority for United States.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov met with U.S. Under Secretary of State, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales and U.S. Chargé d'Affaires a.i. Kristina Kvien, the press service of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry has reported.

"Today, February 18, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov met with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales and U.S. Chargé d'Affaires a.i. Kristina Kvien," the statement reads.

In particular, Ambassador Sales expressed his condolences over the death of a Ukrainian soldier on Tuesday as a result of the escalation of the conflict in Donbas.

“The United States expresses its sincere condolences to the Ukrainian people in connection with an attack by Russian-backed forces and the escalation of the conflict in Donbas. For the United States, the issue of territorial integrity of Ukraine remains a priority,” he said.

The parties also discussed bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism measures and identified practical steps for cooperation in the fight against terrorism, extremism and the radicalization of society.

“I am grateful to our American partners for their strong support in the fight against aggression against Ukraine and fruitful partnership in continuing the reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine,” Avakov said.

On the morning of February 18, Russian-backed forces attacked the positions of Ukrainian Joint Forces units near the villages of Novotoshkivske, Orikhove, Krymske and Khutir Vilnyi.

The invaders fired at the Ukrainian military from weapons proscribed by the Minsk agreements: 120mm mortars, grenade launchers of various types and heavy machine guns. Supported by massive fire, Russian invaders launched an offensive operation and attempted to advance through the contact line.

According to the headquarters of the Joint Forces Operation, one Ukrainian soldier was killed, and four others were wounded.

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