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Tag Archives: russia
LUXEMBOURG (AP) Due to the great uncertainty about what Russia may do next, NATO's secretary general on Tuesday said the U.S.-led alliance and the European Union must cooperate more in the military realm.
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By Luke Baker BRUSSELS (Reuters) – From the moment Russia first moved on Ukraine and seized Crimea, NATO has not lost an opportunity to admonish Moscow for its actions, warning that peace in Europe is under threat and the sovereignty of a friend being violated. Yet between NATO's tough rhetoric and its ability and willingness to act, there is now a substantial gap, one that Russia is exploiting …
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World Ukraine A man, who introduced himself as a lieutenant colonel of the Russian army, speaks to policemen as he introduces his appointed new head of the regional police, after the regional police building storm was stormed and its chief detained, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Gorlovka, near Donetsk, on April 14, 2014. Alexey KravtsovAFP/Getty Images
On Monday afternoon, a line of defecting officers from the Ukrainian police lined up outside their ransacked headquarters in the town of Gorlovka, in eastern Ukraine, to receive orders from their puckish new commander. Their station had been seized hours earlier by a mob of pro-Russian demonstrators, and instead of resisting many of its officers capitulated or, as they put it, went over to the side of the people. Greeting them outside the building with a military salute, the apparent leader of the siege, a man in fatigues who identified himself as Alexander Shulzhenko, stated his rank as lieutenant colonel. Of what? one of the Ukrainian policemen asked him. Of the Russian army, Shulzhenko said.
That brief exchange, which was captured on video and posted to YouTube within hours, was among the clearest pieces of evidence that Russian troops have already begun their takeover of the region of Donetsk, much as they did last month in Ukraines Crimean peninsula. But instead of sending tanks across the border, Russia seems to have chosen a more subtle form of invasion coordinating the mobs of local men who have been seizing government buildings in a handful of cities and towns and declaring independence from Kiev.
The strategy has left the central government with no good options. It can either stand by as pro-Russian gunmen seize more and more ground in the region of Donetsk and other parts of eastern Ukraine, or it can try to evict them by force, giving Russia an excuse to launch a full-scale invasion on the pretext of protecting the locals. Either way, the loss of Donetsk to de facto Russian control already looks to be imminent.
So far, Kiev seems to be approaching this dilemma with caution. The parliament has stopped short of declaring a state of emergency, as that would force Ukraine to delay the presidential elections scheduled for May 25. And on Monday morning, the governments deadline for launching a counter-terrorism operation against the pro-Russian forces ticked by without any assault. According to local media reports, the presence of Ukrainian forces in and around Donetsk has been minimal, and local police and security officials have been defecting en masse to the pro-Russian side.
All of that signals that Ukraine sees little hope of beating back the separatists by force, at least not without serious help from NATO powers. At the border, Russia has gathered a force of at least 40,000 troops poised to attack Ukraine, according to NATO estimates, and U.S. Air Force General Philipp Breedlove, the alliances commander in Europe, has said it would take the Russian forces between three and five days to rout the Ukrainian army if given the order to invade.
Those odds urged Kiev to appeal on Monday for immediate help from the West. Yulia Tymoshenko, the presidential candidate whose close allies hold both the interim presidency and premiership of Ukraine, declared that the epoch of appeasing the aggressor is over. In a written plea distributed to the press, she said, I ask the leaders of the world to provide direct military assistance to the Ukrainian people.
But so far, Western assistance has been limited to the delivery of 300,000 army rations from the U.S., known as meals ready to eat, while President Obama has said clearly that the U.S. will not go to war with Russia over Ukraine. Nor will any other NATO power, and without foreign help, Ukraine has become desperate enough to consider more radical means of defense. In her appeal on Monday, Tymoshenko said that, the time has come to organize a nationwide resistance to the Russian aggressor using all available means, including a total mobilization.
In effect, that would mean arming volunteers with little or no military training and sending them to fight a hastily arranged guerilla campaign in the east. Indeed, the day before Tymoshenko suggested this idea, Ukraines acting interior minister Arsen Avakov had already set a similar plan into motion. On his Facebook page, he called for all patriots of Ukraine to join paramilitary forces under his command, pledging that his ministry was prepared to provide guns and uniforms to as many as 12,000 of these volunteers around the country. The creation of these special units will be carried out as quickly as possible, without any foot-dragging or formalities.
Implicit in this strategy was an acknowledgement of just how little faith Ukraines leaders have in their own armed forces, both military and police. In light of this weekends runaway defections in the east, that hardly seems surprising. Police forces across the region of Donetsk have tended to either abandon their posts or go over to the pro-Russian forces without a shot being fired. That is what happened on Monday in Gorlovka, one of at least six cities and towns in eastern Ukraine where police buildings have been overrun.
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By CNN Staff
updated 9:40 PM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
(CNN) — NATO’s chief urged Russia on Friday to pull back its troops from its border with Ukraine.
Russia should contribute “to a de-escalation of the situation” and engage in a direct dialogue with the Ukrainian government, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during a visit to Sofia, Bulgaria.
NATO is “not discussing military actions” but is focused on protecting its allies, and it “will take all steps necessary to make sure that this collective defense is effective,” Rasmussen said.
Meanwhile, the organization is reinforcing support to its allies, “from the Baltic to the Black Sea,” to deal with the instability created by Russia, Rasmussen said via Twitter.
NATO released additional satellite images Friday purportedly showing the Russian military buildup and rebutted Russian claims that other satellite photos released a day earlier were outdated. NATO said the photos were recent, gathered between late March and earlier this month.
“It is clear that the military buildup of forces occurred in early March 2014,” NATO said.
Meanwhile, the destroyer USS Donald Cook has entered the Black Sea on a mission to demonstrate the U.S. “commitment to our allies and to enhance security readiness in the region,” Navy spokesman Lt. Shawn P. Eklund said Friday.
A satellite photo purportedly shows Russian Su-33 “Flanker” military jets at Yeysk air base near the Ukrainian border.
(CNN) — NATO has released satellite photos that show the extent of Russia’s military mobilization on its border with Ukraine — including fighter jets, tanks, artillery and thousands of soldiers who are prepared to invade within 12 hours if called upon, say officials.
The photos appear to confirm Western leaders’ fears that Russia may be preparing for a ground invasion of eastern Ukraine, despite NATO’s call for Russia to withdraw its forces from the border.
What do the photos show?
The photos, which private satellite imaging firm DigitalGlobe says it took between March 22 and April 2, purportedly reveal dozens of Russian “fast jets,” helicopters and infantry units that were not spotted in photos of the same areas last year.
NATO estimates there are up to 40,000 troops massed at various locations along the Ukrainian border, and says it has spotted Russian forces at more than 100 different sites.
The photos of military equipment and infantry personnel should be greater cause for concern than the ones of the fighter jets, according to experts who have examined the photos for CNN.
The photos of tanks, artillery battalions, and infantry brigades near Novocherkassk — just 50 kilometers from the Ukrainian border — show Russia’s preparation for a potential invasion, says Igor Sutyagin, a research fellow for Russian studies at RUSI, a defense and security think tank.
Another photo shows more than a dozen MI8 Hips or MI24 Hinds attack helicopters sitting in a sparse air field at Belgorod, a Russian facility just 40 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
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The U.S. supports granting Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia at the NATO summit in Wales in September, but there is no consensus within the allies on the issue, a senior U.S. State Department official said.
Georgians are well aware that they do not have consensus in the Alliance and that they have work to do to convince, particularly some of our western European allies, of their worthiness for the Membership Action Plan, Victoria Nuland, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said.
“We have been supporting them as they make this case directly to individual allies, she said while speaking at a hearing of European subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 10.
Nuland also said that Georgia is on track of signing the Association Agreement with the EU, which will deepen its relations with many of these same countries, so we are hopeful that will have a positive impact on how they assess its [Georgias] worthiness for MAP.
Derek Chollet, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, told the same hearing that Georgia is a terrific partner, who fights in Afghanistan along with the U.S. troops without caveats. We are supportive of the Membership Action Plan, he said. But as you know very well this is an Alliances decision, thats not a decision the United States will make alone. We work close with our Georgian partners through this process and its something that clearly will be a subject of conversation in months ahead as we lead up to the Wales summit.
U.S. officials remarks followed a question from Senator Chris Murphy, who presided over the hearing and who said that although Georgia has yet to take some serious steps before it becomes a full candidate for admission to NATO, the Membership Action Plan would have lots of hoops to jump through and would represent a very strong signal to both Russia and our allies that we are serious about keeping the opening door policy.
Georgian Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, said this week that Tbilisi has significantly intensified dialogue with some of the European states those whom he described as skeptics.
In the course of last one month Alasania traveled to Italy, Spain and Slovakia, where he met his counterparts and raised the issue of MAP, according to the Georgian Ministry of Defense. He met his French counterpart in Paris in November, 2013. The Dutch Defense Minister visited Tbilisi earlier this month.
Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, met his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on April 10.
Speaking at a news conference after the meeting Steinmeier spoke about possibility of increasing substantially cooperation between Georgia and NATO through number of measures. I think that would be a milestone, he said.
The seven FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying groups are starting to take shape after a full set of qualifiers over the last week, with Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Norway and England all moving a step closer to the finals in Canada while the duels between Sweden and Scotland, and France and Finland, intensified. UEFA.com rounds up the action; the seven group winners qualify and the four runners-up with the best records against the sides finishing first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups go into the play-offs next autumn for the one remaining UEFA berth in the expanded 24-team finals.
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NATO suspends cooperation with Russia over Ukraine crisis
NATO has suspended all military and non-military cooperation with Russia over the presence of Moscow's military in Ukraine. April 01, 2014 BBC News DONATE NOW TO KEEP MOX NEWS GOING STRONG!…
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By Harun Yahya
””Why is NATO expanding? We can’t see real reasons for that. We all know that the competitor who is the reason behind the establishment of NATO no longer exists”. These words belong to Sergey Yastrzhembsky, the presidential aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin back in 2004. Yastrzhembsky felt the need to make these remarks because NATO seemed to be expanding by incorporating former Soviet states while seemingly isolating Russia in the process. Surely there are reasons that make Russia’s concerns well-grounded. It is fair to say that the goodwill and conciliatory efforts by Russia under the leadership of Putin in the aftermath of the Cold War were not reciprocated in kind, on the part of the US and the EU countries. The process, which first began and included former Soviet states into NATO and the EU, was exacerbated with the Syrian civil war and became an undeniable rift with the Ukrainian crisis. The Western world seems to be pursuing an agenda to isolate Russia, which brings to mind the possibility of a revival of the Cold War mentality.
Let’s look at the factors in the Syrian and Ukrainian crises. No one could deny that the Syrian civil war could have ended easily enough with a reconciliation between Russia and the Western world after Russia had been assured of its continued presence and its interests in Syria would remain unharmed; yet the Western countries, led by the US, chose to ignore Russia’s concerns over Syria and silently distanced themselves from the region.. They didn’t acknowledge the fact that Russia wasn’t going to risk losing one of its long-standing friends and allies, or that the increasing presence of radicalism in Syria would pose a significant threat both to Russia and Syria. The West failed to recognize that Russia would most certainly not jeopardize its Eastern Mediterranean defenses. They could have eased Russia’s justified concerns through an alliance and helped find a reasonable and diplomatic means to end the Syrian civil war.
The current Ukrainian crisis is a clear proof of this new policy of isolation. The importance of Ukraine as an ally for Russia is clear and the actions of the USA and the EU in pretending not to understand that, while at the same time working to isolate Russia and forming friendships with former Russian allies, could be seen as an effort to divide the world into two poles. The Western world is perfectly aware of Ukraine’s position as an old friend, a trade partner and a defensive bulwark in the Black Sea for Russia, and should have been perfectly capable of foreseeing the reaction of Russia to such behavior. Realizing this fact the EU should encourage and extend a helping hand to Russia in its integration with the West. Regarding the issue of Ukraine and Crimea, the policy of isolation of Russia is completely wrong and unacceptable. I’ve been repeating one important fact for a long time: Putin is a wise and approachable leader with a good deal of foresight. He has made important strides in his country and is open to negotiation and reconciliation. The Russian people are also a very decent and loving people: Therefore, no one can condone leaving these beautiful people and a good leader isolated and pushing them into a mindset of insecurity and fear.
It is of paramount importance that the USA and the EU countries leave behind the traditions and the mentality of the Cold War and adopt an integrative policy that will include and reassure Russia. If NATO wishes to become stronger by maintaining its presence in the former Soviet countries, it should do so by incorporating Russia in NATO, not by cutting ties with it. This would further prove NATO’s point that it is a union of peace built to protect against possible external forces, not a military alliance against Russia. Furthermore, the EU countries should be helping Russia to develop, not attempting to isolate it. Unless this is done, it would be unfair to put the entire blame on Russia for these conflicts.
The world needs unity and integration. To do this, the good people of the West and the good people of the East should come together and help each other to develop as a whole, instead of trying to destabilize and weaken each other. The current Russian, US and EU leaders are all reasonable people that are quite capable of building such an alliance; therefore, it is important that they seize this opportunity. It is crucial that the West abandons its notion of ‘I only think about my own people, my own economy, and my own lands.’ The West should try to empathize and work with Russia, not against it. It is high time that everyone sees the problems of the world today can be solved with unity, not with perpetual conflicts.
The author is a leading Muslim commentator from Turkey. He has written more than 300 books in 73 languages
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President Vladimir Putins pledge not to expand beyond the Crimea peninsula in Ukraine is driving short sellers out of the Russian stock market. Traders have scaled back bets on declines in the Market Vectors Russia (RSX) exchange-traded fund to 5 percent of outstanding shares from a record-high 21 percent on March 3