News / Europe

    Russia, NATO Spar Over Military Forces in Central Europe

    A pro-Russian activist regulates road traffic at a checkpoint outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Druzhkovka, June 2, 2014.
    A pro-Russian activist regulates road traffic at a checkpoint outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Druzhkovka, June 2, 2014.
    James Brooke
    With Russia pulling most of its roughly 40,000 troops away from its border with Ukraine, NATO and Russia have started sparring over the nation’s new cross-border tactic.  

    As armed units from Russia mount daily attacks on Ukrainian border posts, Russia warned the Western military alliance Monday not to shift forces East.

    Russia's Representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko, told Interfax news agency if the Kremlin sees "a shifting of NATO's military potential towards the 'eastern wing," Russia will take measures necessary so its security is not affected.

    Grushko spoke as Russia and NATO prepared to meet on Monday for the first time in three months. Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

    Cross border attacks from Russia are expected to dominate debate Tuesday and Wednesday in a NATO defense chiefs meeting.

    Thursday, Russia’s support for Ukrainian separatists is expected to overshadow ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. That event is to be attended by President Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President elect, Petro Poroshenko, among other heads of state.

    In the latest cross border attack, Ukrainian border forces in Luhansk said they battled an assault Monday by 500 armed men coming from Russia.
     
    FILE - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen holds a news conference at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Apr. 16, 2014.FILE - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen holds a news conference at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Apr. 16, 2014.
    x
    FILE - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen holds a news conference at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Apr. 16, 2014.
    FILE - NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen holds a news conference at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Apr. 16, 2014.
    NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is taking a hard line on military attacks from Russia. On a visit Friday to Lithuania, a former Soviet Republic on the Baltic Sea, he said:

    “Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine is a game changer. What does not change is NATO’s core task to defend  our allies against attack.  And make no mistake, NATO will defend every part of the alliance.  No ally stands alone,” he said.

    Saying he had no doubt Russia is destabilizing Ukraine, he added: “We continue to call on Russia to stop supporting armed pro-Russian gangs and seal the border so that we do not see arms and fighters crossing into Ukraine.”

    During the past two weeks the Kremlin has moved most of its 40,000 troops away from Ukraine’s border.  Instead of sending Russian Army units into Ukraine, the Kremlin appears to be sending arms and military “volunteers” across its highly porous land border with Ukraine.

    Russia denies sending any military aid across the border.

    Growing tensions

    Meanwhile, Russian state television has reshaped Russian opinion to see Ukrainians as enemies of Russia.

    In a nationwide poll conducted last month, Levada Poll found that 56 percent of respondent opposed sending the Russian Army into Ukraine. But a nearly equal percentage, 58 percent, supported Russia sending arms and military advisors to southeastern Ukraine.

    On Saturday, Eduard Limonov, a nationalist opposition leader unexpectedly found that he was given a downtown Moscow demonstration permit and a megaphone.

    He shouted to the crowd: “Poles, Lithuanians, Baltics, Finns - they were all against us with Hitler, and before that with Napoleon. Then they were at the gathering on the Maidan.”

    Nearby, Ramil Gizatullin, a dentist, stood with a large banner calling for Russia’s recognition of the self-styled republic of Novorossiya, an entity that would combined Ukraine’s two breakaway regions, Donetsk and Luhansk.

    He said he wanted a tougher Kremlin policy toward Kyiv -- cutting off the gas, and recognition of Novorossiya.

    Hudson Institute security expert Richard Weitz says Russia’s verbal and military aggression is having an impact in the West.

    “One consequence of Ukraine is that it looks like it could create NATO cohesion," he said.

    Putin may have decided to pull back from an overt military attack on Ukraine for fear of having to pay a heavy economic price.

    The limited Western sanctions appear to be pushing Russia into a recession this year. Stock market and ruble exchange rate volatility are scaring off foreign investment.

    During the first four months of this year, $55 billion flowed out of Russia, almost equal to the entire amount for all of last year, and international bond markets have largely closed to Russian companies and banks. Since Russia’s annexation of Ukraine, no Russian company has been able to sell a foreign currency bond.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 02, 2014 8:38 PM
    THESE Russian border crossers aren't like all the terrorists crossing into Syria from Turkey and Jordan, that the US, EU, and NATO countries, and the Saudi and Qataris (arm and supply?) --- (NO?) --- these Russians and visitors from the Russian side, are visiting relatives and bring food that's special, and hard to find...
    NOBODY want's peace, more than Putin? -- (BUT?) -- I wonder how long he'll be able to hold back his anger, while Russian speaking innocent people are being killed by those neo-Nazi and Right Sector thugs?
    In Response

    by: jim brooke from: moscow
    June 03, 2014 9:08 AM
    Meanbill,
    In case you missed the news, Ukraine had an election 10 days ago where a centrist candidate, Petro Poroshenko, won an unprecedented first round victory, winning majorities from across Ukraine. The exceptions were Lugansk and Donetsk where masked, armed men destroyed voting boxes in front of cameras, presumably to educate Eastern Ukraine on the way voting is carried out across the border in Russia. (Winners are decided in advance).

    Meanwhile, Ukraine's two hard right parties got less than 2 percent combined. By comparison, the National Front in France got 25 percent. Why does Russia's state-controlled TV soldier on with the 'nazi fascist' namecalling? They do this largely because this resonates with Russians, all of whom grew on Soviet propaganda movies from the 1950s and 1960s, which showed Western Ukrainians as Nazis, and Red Army troops as Communist liberators.
    What the Soviet films did not show is that the mortality rate for Soviet security personnel in Western Ukraine from 1945-1954 was higher than the rate for Soviet security personnel during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

    Presumably, President Putin, whose pre-politics career was with the KGB, knows of the real military difficulties of confronting Ukrainian partisans. As a result, he seems to have pulled back from committing Russian Army units inside Ukraine.
    Jim Brooke
    Moscow
    In Response

    by: Huang Zhang from: Hong Kong
    June 03, 2014 2:15 AM
    Meanbill from Russia, you better read the above true article first before putting your silly comments. Your words not reflecting the reality on the ground. Actually, Putin is Hitler's heir to mount the horrors on human beings in this 21st century. Putin dirtily plundered Crimea and now he spreading his arm-terrorist men around Ukraine in hope to take more land from Ukraine. No doubt, Putin will rob your home too.

    by: Anonymous
    June 02, 2014 4:50 PM
    What is happening inthe east side of the russia while this is going on
    In Response

    by: Huang Zhang from: Hong Kong 593480
    June 03, 2014 1:37 PM
    Do not petrify: Volan from: South-Africa (in fact, you are a dumb Russian), as I have checked your location. The world stands with Ukrainian people and you under Putin dictator, a loser, would face a lonely isolation on International stage as a robber of Ukrainian territory.
    In Response

    by: Volan from: South-Africa
    June 03, 2014 7:26 AM
    Huang Zhang from Hong Kong, you better read another article that will explain the situation better than the American propoganda article you see above. Plundered Crimea?! C'mon! Not one single shot was fired. It was a referendum that was voted by the people of Crimea whom are Russians and always will be. Reality on the ground? Why are civilians asking the military to stop the fighting and not the pro-russian people? Because the civilians or (pro-russian fighters) is the people standing up against their government that is a farce!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora