Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday blamed
Western countries for provoking the Ukraine crisis, which is used to resuscitate
“A decision has recently been made to increase NATO military presence in Eastern
Europe. The crisis in Ukraine, which was basically provoked and created by some of
our Western partners, is now being used to resuscitate this military bloc,” Putin told a
He said Russia will have to react to new security threats.
“We will take all these things (like NATO’s expansion) into consideration when making
our country’s defense and security plan. We will have to do everything to guarantee
our safety,” Putin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
Meanwhile, Russia will not sever cooperation with foreign partners, he said, but
“existing risks” must be taken into account.
“Our industry must be ready to produce critically important equipment, components
and materials, to develop sufficient manufacturing capacity, technologies and
technical stocks,” Putin warned.
He also stressed the need to ensure Russian’s security.
“Military and industrial potential is huge as we have well-trained scientific personnel.
Many of the things we had have been updated considerably, ensuring us that we will
be able to protect ourselves with existing resources,” Putin said.
Newscast Media KIEV—NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the
alliance is strengthening its military presence on its eastern borders in response to
the crisis in Ukraine.
Speaking after a meeting in Brussels of the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s main
political decision-making body, Rasmussen said the alliance will be making new military
deployments by sea, air, and land “within days.”
He said there will be “more planes in the air, more ships on the water, more readiness
on the land.”
Rasmussen didn’t reveal operational details or numbers about the new deployments.
But he said there will be more “air policing” in the Baltic region, and that allied ships
will be deployed in the Baltic Sea, eastern Mediterranean, and elsewhere if required.
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Newscast Media BRUSSELS—NATO’s top commander General Philip M. Breedlove said
on Wednesday he feels uneasy that Russia has around 40,000 troops at the Ukraine
border, and if given orders, the Russians could strike Ukraine within a matter of hours.
Despite assuring German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday that Russia was
initiating a withdrawal of its troops, the NATO general is not convinced of the troop
In an interview with the New York Times, General Breedlove said that so far only a
single battalion, a force of 400 to 500 troops, is on the move and that NATO
intelligence could not say whether it was actually being withdrawn.
“What we can say now is that we do see a battalion size unit moving, but what we
can’t confirm is that it is leaving the battlefield,” General Breedlove, of the United
States Air Force, said. “Whether that movement is toward a less belligerent
configuration or returning to barracks, we do not see that.”
Based on the combat readiness of the Russians, Gen. Breedlove said, “We believe
that it can move within 12 hours. Essentially the force is ready to go. We believe it
could accomplish its objective between three to five days.”
Furthermore the general asserted, “I think they have all the opportunities and they
can make whatever decision they want. This is a very large, very well-equipped force
to be called an exercise.”
Meanwhile, Russia continues to squeeze Ukraine in the energy sector, and has raised
the price of natural gas from $264 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas to $385.
Since Crimea became part of Russia, they have begun the transition into the Russian
system including the use of Russian currency, and acquisition of Russian travel