Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Russia’s actions in Ukraine “dangerous and irresponsible” and said the tensions provoked by Moscow have probably done more to unify NATO than anything else in years.
“It has brought the world together in a way where they are isolating themselves by their actions,” Hagel said of Russia, as he took questions from Marines during a visit to North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune on Tuesday.
One service member asked the defense secretary if he envisioned the United States becoming more involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Russia’s actions toward Ukraine, as well as stepped-up Russian military air flights over European airspace and plans for similar flights over the Gulf of Mexico, are “very dangerous,” Hagel said.
“The violations of sovereignty and international law that the Russians have perpetuated continue to require responses,” the defense secretary said. The United States is working with NATO “in shifting our entire rotational rapid deployment focus,” he added.
U.S. European Command chief Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove , who is also NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, has said Russian military equipment continues to flow across the border into Ukraine, something Russia denies.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia will be forced to respond correspondingly to any
actions undermining the interests of Russian citizens, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov said Wednesday.
“If we are attacked, we would certainly respond,” Lavrov said in an English-language
interview with the RT news channel.
“If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been
attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I don’t see any other
way but to respond in full accordance with international law. Russian citizens being
attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation,” the foreign minister said,
adding that Russia is not engaged in any military activity that does not fall under
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