Ukraine Soldiers Expect Invasion
WASHINGTON – INTERNATIONAL – Russian President Putin has brushed aside international sanctions against his country from the west. The Russian President has announced a one year ban on imports from Canada.
Ukrainian soldiers are laying seige to Donetsk, where pro-Russian rebels have taken control. After heavy fighting, much of the town remains in ruins.
But the soldiers are also preparing for a larger battle. They believe Russia is preparing to invade. NATO is warning that Russia could use the pretext of a humanitarian mission to send in the 20,000 combat-ready troops now positioned on Ukraine’s border.
Ukrainian Defence Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko says the military will be ready to respond: “If there is direct aggression, then it is obvious that there will be an adequate answer from all branches of Ukrainian armed forces.”
The battle between Ukraine government troops and separatist rebels has been raging since April. Economic sanctions from the west, and threats of further action against Russia, have had little affect.
Is NATO Relevant? – United States
Russia’s “provocative actions” in neighboring Ukraine are prompting NATO to re-examine is relevance, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said yesterday, as the West faces what U.S. officials have described as the worst crisis in relations with Moscow since the end of the Cold War.
During a town hall meeting with U.S. service members in Stuttgart, Germany, — the first stop on a trip that also will take him to India and Australia — Hagel discussed the importance of NATO’s upcoming summit, set to take place next month in Wales.
Russia’s support for rebels in eastern Ukraine “is forcing us to take another look at the relevancy of NATO and how well NATO is structured and prepared,” the secretary said.
Pentagon officials have said that Russia continues to arm Ukrainian rebels and has massed at least 10,000 troops along the Ukrainian border.
The Ukrainian crisis will make the upcoming NATO summit “As important as we’ve had in a long time,” Hagel said in Stuttgart, adding that the summit will be heavy with objectives and big issues that have drawn attention beyond the alliance.
“I think it’s making all of the nations of Europe take another look at the realities of the world,” Hagel added.
Hagel also said the United States continues to assist in the investigation and recovery efforts following the downing last month of a Malaysian commercial airliner over eastern Ukraine, including having investigators on the ground. Nearly 300 people were killed when the Malaysia Airlines jet was blown out of the sky July 17 over eastern Ukraine, and U.S. officials have said evidence points to Russian-armed separatists being responsible. Russia and Ukraine have denied involvement in the incident.