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On June 1, a commercially chartered airplane arrived at the Simferopol airport, bringing a group of U.S. Marine reservists who are part of a construction and engineering unit invited to Ukraine by the Ukrainian government to assist with upgrading the Ukrainian training facility at Staryy Krym, Embassy's press release reports.
They joined their colleagues who arrived on May 27 aboard the Advantage, a commercial cargo ship that, at the invitation of the Ukrainian government, entered the Crimean port of Feodosiya in Crimea and unloaded materials and equipment for the construction project.
There are currently approximately 200 reservists in Crimea. All have civilian jobs in the U.S. To maintain their proficiency, they leave these jobs for three weeks each year to fulfill their military commitment. Once this annual obligation is met they return to their civilian jobs in the U.S. The reservists who arrived this week are not involved in any military training exercise.
The construction unit is scheduled to build sanitary facilities and other basic amenities for use by the Ukrainian military. In addition to the materials they brought with them they plan to buy additional materials on the local market in Crimea, boosting the local economy. Any enhancements that are constructed as part of the visit would remain at the disposal of government of Ukraine for use by Ukrainian military units.
The reservists who arrived this week are anxious to begin the assistance work they were invited here to do. The U.S. Embassy is continuing to work with the Ukrainian government to clear the construction equipment from the port and to defuse tension caused by protests in Crimea.