News / Europe

    NATO Chief to Russia: Pull Troops From Ukraine

    NATO Pledges More Support for Ukrainei
    X
    Al Pessin
    September 04, 2014 10:13 PM
    NATO leaders increased defense cooperation with Ukraine at their summit in Britain Thursday, pledging more help on security and governmental reforms, but not lethal military aid. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from the conference site in Newport, Wales.
    Related video report by Al Pessin
    VOA News

    U.S. officials say Russia faces new sanctions for continuing to support rebels fighting government forces in Ukraine. The crisis has been the center of discussions at a NATO summit in Wales, as President Barack Obama and other leaders prepare Friday to announce their next step in dealing with Russia.

    NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday accused Moscow outright of attacking Ukraine and told the Kremlin to pull back Russian troops from Ukraine and to stop supporting rebels in eastern Ukraine.

    “We call on Russia to end its illegal and self-declared annexation of Crimea,” he said at a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the NATO summit near the Welsh city of Newport.

    NATO Summit in Newport, WalesNATO Summit in Newport, Wales
    x
    NATO Summit in Newport, Wales
    NATO Summit in Newport, Wales

    “We call on Russia to pull back its troops from Ukraine and to stop the flow of arms, fighters and funds to the separatists,” Rasmussen said. “We call on Russia to step back from confrontation and take the path of peace.”  

    Earlier Thursday, the NATO chief had dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seven-step plan to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine, deriding Putin’s approach as a “so-called peace plan.” 

    Rasmussen said what counts is what is happening on the ground in eastern Ukraine, where the West says Russian troops are fighting with separatists against the Ukrainian military, a charge Russia denies.

    NATO estimates there are at least 1,000 Russian troops in Ukraine.

    • U.S. President Barack Obama, third from left, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, fourth from left, listen to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, third from right, as they participate in NATO Summit Session One, on Afghanistan and the Isla
    • French President Francois Hollande, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi meet on the situation in Ukraine.
    • NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks to the media at the Celtic Manor resort, near Newport, in Wales, Sept. 4, 2014.
    • Military personnel wait outside as leaders from the U.S., France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Ukraine participate in a meeting on the situation in Ukraine at the NATO Summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales, Sept. 4, 2014.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama joins British Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to Mount Pleasant Primary School in Newport, Wales, Sept. 4, 2014.
    • A crowd waits outside the Mount Pleasant Primary School, where U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron visit with school children. Newport, Wales, Sept. 4, 2014.
    • An armed police officer stands in the grounds of the Celtic Manor resort, near Newport, in Wales Sept. 4, 2014.
    • Flowers and a message placed at the cenotaph in Newport, Wales Sept. 4, 2014.
    • A soldier carries a case as the sun rises over the golf course at the Celtic Manor resort, near Newport, in Wales, Sept. 4, 2014.

    The West has ruled out military intervention in Ukraine, which is an alliance partner of NATO, not a full member that other NATO countries would be obligated to defend. Rasmussen said it is up to individual countries to decide whether to provide any form of military aid to Kyiv.

    As the meeting opened, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sternly warned that any Ukraine move to join NATO would "derail efforts" toward a cease-fire.

    Western nations have already imposed wide economic sanctions on Russia and say they are considering other measures.

    Crises on agenda

    Rasmussen's comments stepped up Western rhetoric against Moscow and set the tone for a two-day meeting marked by a return to east-west confrontation 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    NATO members are meeting at a golf resort outside the town of Newport, Wales.

    U.S. President Barack Obama and his 27 allies plan to discuss how to tackle the Islamic State group that has claimed territory in Iraq and Syria and has emerged as a new threat on the alliance's southern flank, as well as how to stabilize Afghanistan when NATO forces leave at year's end.

    After the leaders met with Ukrainian Poroshenko Rasmussen said the alliance would make a joint declaration on the crisis, and agree on what he called “concrete steps” to enhance their cooperation with Ukraine.

    NATO is also planning to create a rapid-reaction force to enhance its military presence in member states close to Russia, and to deter, and if necessary respond to, any Russian military moves in those areas.

    Russia, which has strongly opposed any NATO presence near its borders, has denounced the idea of a rapid response unit. Earlier this week, Russia said it will review its own military strategies in eastern Europe if NATO endorses creation of the force.

    Afghanistan

    The NATO leaders also conferred about Afghanistan, where their combat mission will end in December and they hope to launch an advisory and training mission next year. 

    Rasmussen said NATO is ready for the final stage of the transition of its mission from combat to a training and advisory role, as planned. But he said that cannot happen unless the new Afghan president signs agreements on the status of foreign forces in the country.

    However, the alliance is waiting for the results of the disputed Afghan presidential election to get the agreement signed.

    Afghanistan's rival presidential candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, sent a message to NATO leaders on Thursday saying that they will do their utmost to reach a political agreement that would end a crisis over disputed elections.

    Rasmussen’s comments followed a three-hour meeting about Afghanistan by NATO leaders and officials from 27 other countries that have troops in the country or provide various types of assistance.

    The leaders formalized plans for continuing financial assistance for Afghanistan and in further building its security forces.  

    Rasmussen described this as a “crucial summit at a crucial time,” and one of the most important in the alliance’s history.

    Islamic State group

    Rasmussen said he believes the broader international community "has an obligation to stop Islamic State fighters from advancing further," but noted that the alliance hasn't received any request for help.

    "I'm sure that if the Iraqi government were to forward a request for NATO assistance, that would be considered seriously by NATO allies," Rasmussen said.

    The Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for murdering two American journalists, releasing gruesome videos of their beheadings. Both the U.S. and Britain are deeply concerned about the potential threat to their homelands that could come from the foreign fighters who have joined the violent Islamic State group.

    The U.S. began launching airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq last month, and both the U.S. and Britain have been making humanitarian aid drops to besieged minority groups there.

    Cameron said that he hadn't ruled out joining the U.S. in airstrikes, but added that the priority was to support those already fighting the militants on the ground.

    "We need to show real resolve and determination, we need to use every power and everything in our armory with our allies - with those on the ground - to make sure we do everything we can to squeeze this dreadful organization out of existence,'' Cameron told the British network ITV.

    The summit continues Friday with the focus on the security of NATO members that border Russia.  
     
    But former British official Nick Witney, now at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told VOA such moves may be important but don’t directly address Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

    “There is a certain amount of displacement activity, if you like, in worrying about how we can improve the defense of the Baltics and Poland and so on, when frankly there is not a serious Russian threat to those countries,” he said.

    Al Pessin contributed to this report from London. Some material for this report came from Reuters and AP.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    September 04, 2014 11:36 PM
    If NATO has ruled out military intervention in Ukraine, ..... I could not see any point of imposing never-ending modified sanctions against Russia. Economic sanctions alone will never force "LION" Putin to his knees. Good luck, NATO!

    by: Clair from: Brazil
    September 04, 2014 9:29 PM
    Rasmussen is no good people, he is sick. The warmonger is looking for a Tonkin Gulf incident. A war with Russia is not a war with Libya, sure will be worst. Vietnam is a heaven, if you compare. Are you ready to receive lots of corps in coffins?

    by: Anonymous from: Russia
    September 04, 2014 12:36 PM
    Thanks for money you gave us to increase our military power to destroy EU or even USA)
    In Response

    by: Wolfe from: buffalo
    September 04, 2014 9:36 PM
    Your welcome anon.

    by: Petro from: Russia
    September 04, 2014 10:10 AM
    Look, Russia all the time is aggressor. Russia has tens of wars in last century. Ukraine had none. Who still thinks that Ukraine could fight against their people? this is nonsense. This is Russian aggression against Ukraine as Russia always does.
    In Response

    by: Michael from: S-Pb
    September 05, 2014 12:39 AM
    Petro and you have a problem with the story, there was no Ukraine until 1918. Poland, Russian Empire and Austria-Hungary. The non-existent state of course, though there was no war. The Russian Empire was at war less than other countries in Europe. Go to the school.

    by: Max from: Ukraine
    September 04, 2014 9:12 AM
    Ukraine had never had a war. War is only Russian initiative. Forever.

    Remember Russian aggression -
    Ukraine 1920, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania 1920th, China 1930th, Japan 1930th, Finland 1940, Korea 1950, Czechoslovakia 1968, Israel 1970, Afghanistan 1980th, Moldova 1992, Chechnya-I 1994, Chechnya-II 2000th, Georgia 2008, Ukraine 2014.

    And again, there has been no one Ukrainian aggression for hundreds of years.
    In Response

    by: Michael from: S-Pb
    September 05, 2014 12:34 AM
    You have a problem with historical scholarship. What Ukraine in 1920? Maybe it was Poland? In 1930 Japan invaded the Soviet Union itself. All that happened from 1940 to 1991 - Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, and so the same prichasna to these events. Moreover Khrushchev - were ethnic Ukrainians, as Brezhnev. And Chechnya, you somehow forgot to mention Ukrainian mercenaries involved in terrorist acts, such as Beslan. Apparently you were taught history together with President of the USA, have those same "deep" knowledge. Or as usual to wishful thinking.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    September 04, 2014 8:41 AM
    In case nobody noticed it... Russian leader Putin was the "only" leader out of all the countries involved that submitted any type of plan to end the fighting and negotiate a settlement between Ukraine and the Ukraine separatists?..Truth be told.. the US, EU, and NATO countries only made accusations with fabricated evidence, falsified reports and fuzzy pictures, (and never at anytime), presented any type (proof that's stand up in a court of law), or any type of a plan, to end the fighting or trying to unite Ukraine with any type of negotiations?.... IF Ukraine never had attacked the separatists, this Ukraine crisis would never had happened, (and war cannot solve this Ukraine conflict), and the US, EU, and NATO still haven't any plans to end it.... just like the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) terrorist beheading, (they still haven't a plan?).
    In Response

    by: Alexa from: US
    September 05, 2014 4:03 PM
    The Kissinger-Putin plan that Putin is proposing has rewarded Putin for land-grab in Ukraine, and has put Ukraine in a Moldova type of situation, without hope of getting rid of Putin, the bully. Funny, we don't hear much about that secretly hatched plan, I might add, without the participation of Ukraine.

    by: NATO Chief Dismisses from: Putin's Ukraine Plan
    September 04, 2014 7:51 AM
    Can NATO Chief suggest and fulfil his own Ukraine Plan? It is easy to wag his tongue, to criticise Putin and do nothing useful.

    by: Anonymous
    September 04, 2014 7:24 AM
    Don't believe Putin. Don't pay billions dollars to Russia for gas

    by: Michael from: S-Pb
    September 04, 2014 7:06 AM
    Apparently NATO benefit from war in the Ukraine. Again, the stories about the "mythical" forces in Russia, which has not been seen, and can not be photographed.
    In Response

    by: Alexa from: US
    September 05, 2014 6:26 PM
    Keep up...Russia TV channel 1, has now run a story about a Russian soldier who died fighting in Ukraine...
    Putin will have you believe that these soldiers are fighting while on vacation as volunteers who come prepared with their own tanks and uzies.
    The soldier was buried with military honors with family present. Unlike the others who have been thrown into unmarked graves.
    The tragedy is that Putin's "Little Green Men" are not given a choice, they are forced into deadly combat by those in charge of them.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.