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Russia Has ‘Very Ready Force’ for Ukraine Incursion - NATO General

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Russia has massed all the forces it needs on Ukraine's border if it were to decide to carry out an “incursion” into the country and it could achieve its objective "in three to five days," NATO's top military commander said on Wednesday.

 

“This is a very large and very capable and very ready force,” said NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, referring to the presence of an estimated 40,000 Russian troops on Ukraine's border.

 

Calling the situation “incredibly concerning”, Breedlove said NATO had spotted signs of movement by a very small part of the Russian force overnight but had no indication that it was returning to barracks.

Breedlove made his remarks an interview with Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.

 

Russia's seizure and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region has caused the deepest crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War, leading the United States and Europe to impose sanctions on Moscow. They have said they will strengthen those sanctions if Russia moves beyond Crimea.

 

NATO military chiefs are concerned that the Russian troops on Ukraine's border could pose a threat to eastern and southern Ukraine.

 

Breedlove said Russia could have several potential objectives, including an incursion into southern Ukraine to establish a land corridor to Crimea, pushing beyond Crimea to Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odessa or even threatening to connect to Transdniestria, the mainly Russian-speaking, separatist region of Moldova that lies to the west of Ukraine.

 

Russia also has forces to the north and northeast of Ukraine that could enter eastern Ukraine if Moscow ordered them to do so, Breedlove said.

 

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday that it would be a historic mistake for Russia to intervene further in Ukraine.

 

Return to Cold War mode

 

Russia is accusing NATO of slipping back into Cold War thinking by suspending cooperation with Russia over its seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region.

 

Russia's NATO envoy Alexander Grushko wrote on his Twitter page Wednesday that NATO's basic Cold War instincts have woken up.

NATO foreign ministers continue their talks in Brussels Wednesday on the crisis in Ukraine.

 

The ministers decided Tuesday to to officially end all civilian and military cooperation with Russia. They said they do not recognize its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and urged Russia to immediately comply with international law.

 

Diplomatic channels between NATO and Moscow remain open.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed concern to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday about NATO's decision to suspend cooperation with Moscow.

 

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the two leaders also discussed possibilities for international cooperation in the crisis over Ukraine but gave no details.

 

Meanwhile, Russia is accusing U.S. banking giant J. P. Morgan of illegally blocking a cash transfer from its embassy in Kazakhstan to a Russian company.

 

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement calls J.P. Morgan's move "unacceptable, illegal and absurd" and warns the blockage will "have consequences" for the U.S. embassy in Russia.

 

The ministry linked the blockage to White House sanctions slapped on Moscow for its takeover of Crimea.

 

The U.S. Congress officially approved the sanctions Tuesday along with final approval of $1 billion in loan guarantees to the Ukrainian government.

 

 

Some reporting by Reuters

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  • Guest
    crd6231 Thursday, 03 April 2014

    And why is the Second Amendment important?

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Guest Wednesday, 11 December 2019