News / Europe

    Further Russian Intervention in Ukraine Would Be ‘Historic Mistake’ - NATO

    • People stand outside a closed McDonalds restaurant. The fast food restaurant chain announced this week that it is shuttering its three outlets in the Crimean peninsula over unspecified operations issues, Simferopol, Crimea, April 4, 2004.
    • People gather outside a currency exchange office in the Crimean city of Simferopol, April 4, 2014.
    • People stand in line as they wait to enter a branch of the Sberbank of Russia bank in the Crimean city of Simferopol, April 4, 2014.
    • Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said during an interview with Reuters that the Kyiv government will stick to unpopular austerity measures "as the price of independence" as Russia steps up pressure on Ukraine to destabilize, Kyiv, April 3, 2014.
    • Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov visits a military exhibition near the settlement of Desna in Chernigov region, Ukraine, April 2, 2014.
    • Ukrainian soldiers watch as an army medic helicopter flies above during a military exhibition near the settlement of Desna in Chernigov region, April 2, 2014.
    • People pass by barricades near the Dnipro Hotel in Kyiv, April 1, 2014.
    • Self-defense activists pass by the Dnipro Hotel in Kyiv, April 1, 2014.
    • Members of the Ukrainian far-right radical group Right Sector leave their headquarters in Dnipro Hotel as police special forces stand guard, Kyiv, April 1, 2014.
    • Commuters walk along railway lines next to Ukrainian tanks ready to depart from Crimea near Simferopol, March 31, 2014.
    • Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits Crimea to consider priorities for its economic development, Simferopol, March 31, 2014.
    • Ukrainians, in accordance with Orthodox Church tradition of marking the 40th day since death, remember those who lost their lives during pro-Europe protests in Kyiv, March 30, 2014. 
    Developments in Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula
    VOA News
    Further Russian intervention in Ukraine, following its annexation of Crimea, would be a “historic mistake” that would deepen Russia's international isolation, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday.

    “If Russia were to intervene further in Ukraine, I wouldn't hesitate to call it an historic mistake. That would lead to further international isolation of Russia. It would have far reaching consequences for the relations between Russia and ... the Western world. It would be a miscalculation with huge strategic implications,” he told a news conference after a meeting of alliance foreign ministers.

    'Three to five days'

    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.
    FILE - NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove.FILE - NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove.
    x
    FILE - NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove.
    FILE - NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove.


    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.

    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.
     
    Alliance foreign ministers are seen during a NATO-Ukraine commission meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels April 1, 2014.Alliance foreign ministers are seen during a NATO-Ukraine commission meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels April 1, 2014.
    x
    Alliance foreign ministers are seen during a NATO-Ukraine commission meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels April 1, 2014.
    Alliance foreign ministers are seen during a NATO-Ukraine commission meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels April 1, 2014.
    Russia is accusing NATO of reverting to Cold War rhetoric and tactics by suspending cooperation with Russia over its seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region.

    Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement Wednesday that NATO's language on the issue resembled "the verbal jousting of the Cold War era."

    NATO foreign ministers announced Tuesday during a summit on Ukraine taking place in Brussels that they would 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.

    Kerry-Lavrov call

    U.S. Secretary of State of State John Kerry discussed the crisis with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in a brief telephone call this morning.

    According to a State Department official, Kerry used the call to convey the strong support he was hearing for the people of Ukraine and the legitimate government of Ukraine from his counterparts during the NATO meeting in Brussels.

    Kerry also reiterated the objective of de-escalating tensions in Ukraine, including through direct engagement between Ukrainian and Russian officials, and the return of Russian troops to their barracks, the official said.

    In related developments, the United States has temporarily suspended several projects planned under the auspices of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission as well as some cooperative law enforcement activities, according to a release published on the U.S. State Department’s website.

    “Funding for these activities will instead be used to contribute to a package of U.S. assistance to Ukraine, following consultation with Congress, which will support economic reform and address other pressing needs, including combatting corruption and recovering stolen assets,” the release says.

    Latest from Yanukovych

    Meanwhile, ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych says he was "wrong" to invite Russian troops into Ukraine's Crimean peninsula - a move that led to Moscow's annexation of the Black Sea territory.

    Yanukovych, who fled Kyiv in February after months of anti-government protests, spoke Wednesday, two weeks after Russia's parliament voted to make the peninsula a part of the Russian Federation.

    In his first interview since he sought refuge in Russia,  Yanukovych told the Associated Press and Russian NTV television that he will try to persuade Moscow to return the territory to Ukrainian control.

    His comments come just weeks after Moscow drew international rebuke for sending thousands of troops into Crimea.  He described Russia's subsequent annexation as "a tragedy, a major tragedy."

    Western analysts largely described the ex-president's statements as an apparent effort to salvage some support in Ukraine, where even his one-time political allies have abandoned him.

    The ex-president argued that the Russian takeover would not have occurred if he had remained in office.  He also denied widespread allegations of corruption from by pro-Western protesters who sought to drive him from power.

    VOA's Scott Stearns contributed to this story; some reporting by Reuters
     
     

    You May Like

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 
    by: Scoop Hendetso. from: USSA
    April 02, 2014 7:58 PM
    Since the bloody coup is accepted by USSA, what say we do a bloodless one here?
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 04, 2014 8:54 PM
    We now know that the Russian FSB sent agents to Kiev to shoot down defenseless people in the central Kiev square with sniper rifles. Even the deposed corrupt ex-president of Ukraine said that he regretted calling on Russia for help.

    by: Not Again from: Canada
    April 02, 2014 4:35 PM
    It is not a good situation, but Ukraine has enogh defensive weapons to put a strong opposition to a Russian incursion; it needs to organize its people to resist. Other nations have faced very bad odds, and did resist invasions by expansionist dictatorial fanatical empires. Ukr has enough trained personnel, to enable itself to stand up lower level formations, and do a great deal of damage to an intruding force. The situation for the defence will be far more difficult, to establish strong points/sever lines of communication, once the land dries up at the end of the Spring. Ukr will need better air defence, manportable sytems, and it will also need better anti-armour man-portable systems. Only a credible deployment of defensive units, in hardened positions, will lessen the chances of a confrontation, wishful thinking is not a deterrent, as some misguided grandstanding political elites would believe it to be.

    by: kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio
    April 02, 2014 2:48 PM
    Crimea actually exposed the futility of Russia's military might -- as well as the futility of NATO's defensive might.
    The world has gotten smaller and smarter, but these old military machines refuse to take notice.
    Why should they?
    It will only hasten their irrelevancy in today's interconnected and interdependent world.

    by: Hillary Clinton from: D.C.
    April 02, 2014 11:15 AM
    This is just a diversion article...............do some REAL journalism, VOA.
    In Response

    by: sendagala edmon from: kampala
    April 02, 2014 5:13 PM
    Whenever international politics seems to exposure the so-long feared hegemonial dominance of the US that it no longer exists, you cannot just ignore the panic in our american friends. Everything will be termed diversionary;however, who in this world does more 'decoy journalism' than americans. Dear all, the world has moved on from a unipolar to a decentralised multi-polar society-Every Man forHimself,God for Us All
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    April 02, 2014 12:13 PM
    IN YOUR OWN WORDS? ... "What difference does it make?" if (you) like, or approve their reporting or not? .. (At least they're not in a coma, like you were in Benghazi), were they? ...... REALLY

    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
    April 02, 2014 10:43 AM
    Russia is accusing NATO of slipping back into Cold War thinking by suspending cooperation with Russia over its seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region.?????? Is this not funny?? Russia accusing NATO cold war THINKING while they ACT like in the cold war era ! Its best Russians start feeling the heat of their action in crimea but denying Russians visa to any democratic nation as a sign to protest till they vote the dictator out of office.

    by: Robert E from: USA
    April 02, 2014 10:01 AM
    Give the poor baby a crying towel. The troops are on Russian soil and obviously is causing great concern. Why not?

    by: meanbill from: USA
    April 02, 2014 9:51 AM
    AN UNDENIABLE FACT? .... The Russian (invasion) and conquering of Crimea with a bunch of little green men, (who never fired a shot), will go down in history as one of the top military victories of all time.... Historians will be analyzing Putin's Crimea military war victory, (on how he did it, without firing a shot), a feat never accomplished in history, FOREVER?
    In Response

    by: E2West from: Pheonix
    April 02, 2014 11:17 PM
    #Tom Murphy. Catch up Tom, other information suggests the 100 Ukrainians killed were mostly killed by agitators sponsored by the West; this was in response to the Ukraine moving towards closer ties with Russian. Russia's actions/responses seem to be in response to the more subtle encroachments of the West towards Russian territory. Consider the the reaction that would come from the US if the Russian's sponsored agitators in Canada and Mexico to oust the elected government and then install a government that was pro-Russian; the US would label them all terrorists, send in the drones and kill a couple of thousand civilian bystanders. NATO expects the Russian troops to go back to barracks whilst they (with additional US equipment) bolster NATO forces on the other side of the Ukraine… this is exactly the kind of response that will keep and then send Russia over the border into the Ukraine. Remember also that the Crimeans voted on mass to leave the Ukraine so what right does the EU & US have to tell a significantly sized group of people who had a free vote that they won't acknowledge their vote to self-determine the country that that want to align with.
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 02, 2014 12:53 PM
    What about the end of Russian rule in Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania?? These were not bloody revolutions. Yet 100 Ukrainian people were killed in Kiev and thousands injured in the attempt to save Russia's domination of Ukraine. Many shots were fired in the takeover of Ukrainian military bases and Ukrainian protestors have been beaten to death outside of Kiev.

    by: Che Guevara from: India
    April 02, 2014 9:46 AM
    Play your Western games on some other nations, but not Moscow. US scumbags.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    April 02, 2014 9:57 PM
    Because what Putin did was an international crime, an arrest warrant should be issued for Putin, no exceptions.
    In Response

    by: Scott from: Arlington VA
    April 02, 2014 3:26 PM
    That's an amazing statement from a country where it's ok to treat its own citizens like dirt and let them live in horrid conditions. You've got your own problems to solve...get busy!
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 02, 2014 12:42 PM
    What will Moscow do with the tens of thousands of Russians who marched in Moscow in protest against Putin's actions in Ukraine?? Will Putin put them all in Lubyanka prison?? Will they be shot and buried in Gorky Park as was done in the past??

    A growing number of Russian people want no part of the dictatorial actions of Russia's leader-for-life.

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 02, 2014 9:30 AM
    NATO nations should transfer man-portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria as soon as possible with Ukraine as the highest priority.
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 02, 2014 10:04 PM
    To: peter bonfil
    You must believe that Russia has magic weapons. Russian-built tanks have been destroyed in large numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mujahadeen shot down Russian aircraft on a regular basis in Afghanistan. Since then, shoulder fired weapons built in Europe have advanced tremendously.
    In Response

    by: peter bonfil from: australia
    April 02, 2014 7:09 PM
    What are anti tank weapons going to do against Russians who have latest Arena anti tank systems,and latest anti aircraft s300 systems.
    In Response

    by: Tom Murphy from: Northern Virginia
    April 02, 2014 4:23 PM
    To: meanbill
    Are you talking about the death toll of innocent civilians in Syria due to the artillery shelling by the Assad regime??
    Are you talking about the depopulation of Asians in Siberia by expansionist colonial Russia in its drive to the Bering Straits???
    Are you talking about the many deportations of ethnic minorities like the Tatars and Chechens??
    Are you talking about the "Red Terrors" conducted by Vladimir Lenin against Russians during the early days of his rule??
    Are you talking about the "killing fields" of Cambodia's Communist Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot??
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    April 02, 2014 12:23 PM
    Wherever NATO goes, death and destruction follows, and continues on long after they have gone, (never winning the war, but leaving the countries in ruins), after killing more innocent people than the bad guys did).... AND wherever NATO went, the innocents are still dying from their interference.

    by: Robert Abbasi from: Ca
    April 02, 2014 9:27 AM
    Thanks to Obama's weekness and his administration .
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Co-Ed Selective Service Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.