News / Europe

NATO Commander Warns of Russian Threat to Transdniestria

FILE - NATO Commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove.
FILE - NATO Commander, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove.
VOA News
NATO's top military commander said on Sunday that Russia had built up a large force on Ukraine's eastern border and he was worried Moscow may be eyeing Moldova's mainly Russian-speaking separatist Transdniestria region after annexing Crimea.

"There is absolutely sufficient (Russian) force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Transdniestria if the decision was made to do that, and that is very worrisome,'' NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, told an event held by the German Marshall Fund think-tank. "The (Russian) force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizeable and very, very ready.''

The warning comes a day after Russian troops fired shots and used armored vehicles to smash through the gates of Belbek air base Saturday. Ukrainian forces offered no resistance. They sang their country's national anthem before putting their weapons into storage.

At least one Ukrainian soldier was wounded. Some reporters and cameramen covering the takeover were roughed up by Russian soldiers and had their equipment seized, including those working for VOA.

Russian forces also took over a Ukrainian naval base in Novofedorovka.

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and visiting Belarus' counterpart Alexander Lukashenko speak to each other a meeting in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, Dec. 25, 2013.FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and visiting Belarus' counterpart Alexander Lukashenko speak to each other a meeting in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, Dec. 25, 2013.
x
FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and visiting Belarus' counterpart Alexander Lukashenko speak to each other a meeting in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, Dec. 25, 2013.
FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and visiting Belarus' counterpart Alexander Lukashenko speak to each other a meeting in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, Dec. 25, 2013.
Earlier Sunday, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday blasted Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea as setting a "bad precedent.''

A close ally of Moscow, Lukashenko told reporters in Minsk that Crimea was now "de facto'' a part of the Russian Federation.  He nonetheless said that Ukraine should remain "a single, indivisible, integral, non-bloc state.''

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, writing in the Telegraph newspaper, said Britain and its allies must be ready for different relations with Russia than what they have enjoyed during the last 20 years. Hague said this would include restricting military cooperation and arms sales to Russia.

Meanwhile, Kyiv is bracing for a unity rally Sunday, a day after Russian forces seized the last major Ukrainian military base in Crimea.

In Kyiv Saturday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Ukraine's interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, for his "real leadership." Ban said he admired the prime minister's call for "inclusiveness and reconciliation."

  • Priests from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church offer prayers to kick off a national unity rally. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A paramilitary officer shows off the large tent in which he has been living for the past four months in Kyiv's central square. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Two men sit atop an armored personnel carrier in downtown Kyiv. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A man wearing a Ukranian flag listens to speakers at a unity rally in Maidan, central Kyiv. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Hundreds remain encamped in central Kyiv's Maidan (Independence Square) even after the old government was ousted. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A large burnt-out office building sits adjacent to the Maidan, where violent protests led to the ouster of Ukraine's government. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Participants at a unity rally in central Kyiv unfurl a giant flag. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Visitors to Maidan look at a makeshift memorial for two of the more than 100 people killed in anti-government protests earlier this year. (Steve Herman/VOA)


Also in Kyiv Saturday was Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- the first G7 leader to visit Mr. Yatsenyuk in Ukraine. Harper said Canadians are impressed by the restraint Ukraine is showing despite what he calls Russia's "obvious provocations."

Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte is leading a congressional delegation on a visit to Kiyv Sunday. Ayotte has called for more U.S. aid to Ukraine.

Some information in this report comes from Reuters.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid