( Title: UKRAINE 1st UPD
HEAD: Russia: NATO Slipping Back into Cold War Thinking
PUBLISHED AT: Wednesday, April 02, 2014 11:58:18 AM
TYPE: CN ))
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.
NATO's top military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said Wednesday that Russia has enough forces massed on the Ukrainian border to move in and take over large swaths of Ukraine in three to five days.
Breedlove said the Russian forces include support for planes and helicopters as well as military hospitals and electronic warfare equipment. He said he could not confirm Russia's recent statements that it is moving forces away from the border with Ukraine.
Diplomatic channels between NATO and Moscow remain open.
Meanwhile, ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in February, told the Associated Press Wednesday that he was "wrong" to invite Russian troops into Crimea. He called the situation "a major tragedy" and vowed to work for the return of Crimea to Ukraine.
Mr. Yanukovych said he had met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a "calm" but "difficult" conversation about Ukraine, adding that Crimea should remain part of Ukraine while having as much independence as possible.
And Russia is accusing U.S. banking giant J. P. Morgan of illegally blocking a cash transfer from its embassy in Kazakhstan to a Russian company.
A Russian foreign ministry statement calls J.P. Morgan's move "unacceptable, illegal and absurd" and warns the blockage will "have consequences" for the U.S. embassy in Russia.
The ministry linked the blockage to White House sanctions slapped on Moscow for its takeover of Crimea.
The U.S. Congress officially approved the sanctions Tuesday along with final approval to $1 billion in loan guarantees to the Ukrainian government.