News & Politics
NATO must reposition military resources: Romania
Category: News & Politics

NATO must reposition military resources: Romania

Romania's President Traian Băsescu says the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) must reposition its resources in the wake of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

Speaking to reporters in Bucharest on Monday, Băsescu added that he would discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine with world leaders attending a nuclear security summit at The Hague.

"I will...take advantage of the opportunity that many heads of states are gathered here and also outside the summit and inform them about the situation in the region, the need to reposition NATO's military resources as a result of military activities of the Russian Federation over the past months and so on," the Romanian president, whose country shares a border with Ukraine, said.

In a statement released on March 18, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen condemned what he called Russia's “illegal” annexation of Crimea, saying Moscow “continues down the dangerous path.”

On Wednesday, Rasmussen expressed concern that Russia may decide to extend what he calls Moscow’s intervention beyond Crimea and into eastern Ukraine, saying Russia’s actions with regard to Crimea show a wider strategy by Moscow to exert control on the region.

Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16, in which 96.8 percent of Crimeans voted for union with Russia, with a turnout of 83.1 percent.

On March 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law documents that officially made the Black Sea peninsula part of the Russian territory despite condemnation from the West and the new Ukrainian government.

SF/HGH/SS

US, allies have decided to oust Russia from G8 over Crimea: White House
Category: News & Politics
Tags: US allies oustrd Russia from G8

US, allies have decided to oust Russia from G8 over Crimea: White House

US President Barack Obama and leaders from other allied states have decided to oust Russia from the Group of Eight (G8) developed nations over the crisis in Ukraine and the status of Crimea, the White House says. 

"International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state's territory through coercion or force," the White House said in a statement on Monday. "To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built. We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine's constitution.

"We also strongly condemn Russia's illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations," the statement said. 

Earlier in the day, Russia brushed off the Western threat to expel it from the G8.

"G8 is an informal organization that does not give out any membership cards and, by its definition, cannot remove anyone," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a news conference. " 

"If our Western partners believe that this organizational format has outlived, so be it. At least, we are not attached to this format and we don't see a great misfortune if it will not gather. Maybe, for a year or two, it will be an experiment for us to see how we live without it," Lavrov stated.

Meanwhile, the Group of Seven (G7) is threatening to step up its measures against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

In a statement issued after crisis talks in The Hague on Monday, the G7 members said they are ready to intensify coordinated sanctions against Moscow. They also called on Russia to immediately de-escalate the situation. 

The United States and its Western allies have been on a collision course with Russia since Moscow declared that Crimea is part of the Russian Federation.

GJH/GJH

US ‘very concerned’ about Russia forces near Ukraine border
Category: News & Politics
Tags: US ‘very concerned’ Russia forces near Ukraine border

US ‘very concerned’ about Russia forces near Ukraine border

The administration of US President Barack Obama says Washington is “very concerned” about Russian forces near Ukraine’s eastern and southern borders, saying training exercises might not be the only purpose they are there for.

The White House says intelligence from the field has bolstered their skepticism that as early as coming days Moscow might engage in military incursions into Ukraine, an exclusive CNN report said on Friday.

According to Obama administration officials, any possible military incursions would be to protect the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine, transportation lines from Russia to Crimea, or the energy supply to Crimea from Ukraine.

“We’re very concerned, but it’s by no means certain,” a senior White House official told CNN.

Washington’s concerns come as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told his US counterpart Chuck Hagel on Thursday that Russian troops near Ukraine’s border “are there to conduct exercises only” and “they had no intention of crossing the border into Ukraine,” adding that Russia “would take no aggressive action.”

Meanwhile, the US is expanding its war games with allied states in the Black Sea.

This week, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Truxtun, conducted a one-day military exercise with the Bulgarian and Romanian navies.

"There are many reasons for exercises with allies, it allows us an opportunity to assure our NATO allies that we support them," said Shawn Eklund, a public affairs officer for US Naval Forces Europe.

Moreover, the US has stepped up the deployment of its military forces to eastern Europe, including the dispatch of fighter jets and surveillance equipment to Poland and the Baltic states.

This month, six F-15C Eagles and more than 60 American troops arrived at Siauliai air base, Lithuania, while twelve F-16 fighter jets and 300 US soldiers landed in Poland.

On Friday, US officials also said that the US and Poland are seeking to include other NATO allies from eastern Europe in joint aviation drills at the Lask air force base in central Poland.

ISH/ISH

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