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Shows & Panels
Search Tags: Russia
Standing in Estonia on Russia's doorstep, President Barack Obama says, "this is a moment of testing" for the Western alliance to stand up to the Kremlin. This came as the Pentagon announced that 200 U.S. soldiers would participate in an exercise in western Ukraine starting next week. It's symbolic, but the message is strong. It's the first time American ground troops have been in Ukraine since the crisis began.
Western allies have approved plans to position at least 4,000 troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe, increasing NATO's security commitments to jittery member states near the Russian border. This come just as an important NATO summit that begins Thursday. President Barack Obama will be there and will visit Estonia for meetings with Baltic leaders.
Russia is ready for talks on resuming gas supplies to Ukraine, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday, warning of disruption to flows to Europe this winter if a row over pricing and debts was not resolved. The EU says gas must not be used as a diplomatic weapon. Novak said Moscow was ready to reduce its prices in an effort to secure a deal, but the proposed sum remained well above what Kiev has said it is willing to pay.
Several European Union foreign ministers have accused Russia of invading eastern Ukraine and said Moscow should be punished with more sanctions. The meeting of the 28-nation bloc's top diplomats in Milan came one day after NATO said Moscow has slipped at least 1,000 Russian soldiers and much heavy weaponry into Ukraine.
One of the toughest jobs in the State Department these days might be ambassador to Russia. That job was conferred just days ago on veteran career diplomat John Tefft. He arrives in Moscow when tensions between Russia and the United States are as high as they've been since the Cold War. Bob Silverman is president of the American Foreign Service Association. He joined Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss how Tefft will have to go about his job.
President Barack Obama says the U.S. is limited in what it can do to deter Russia's actions in Ukraine because Russia and President Vladimir Putin are ignoring their long-term interests. He says, "people don't always act rationally," and he also says that people don't act based on their own interests.
"The President of Russia now has a view of history since 1945 that is completely at odds with how the rest of the world looks at history," says Former National Security Advisor James Jones. The real issue, which many view as a festering problem, is Putin's alleged grudge about the way the Cold War turned out. "He believes and he has said that worst thing that has happened in the last century is the dissolution of the Soviet Empire," says Jones.
A day after the U.S. hit several Russian arms companies with sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, a top U.S. general is warning that congressional efforts to cut off dealings with Moscow's main weapons exporter could be "catastrophic" for U.S. forces. Marine General Joseph Dunford, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said 88 Russian helicopters the Pentagon is buying for Afghan security forces were critical for protecting U.S.troops that remain in the country after the end of this year.
The United States has imposed new sanctions on lucrative Russian energy and defense entities, as well as major banks. The Obama administration is trying disable an insurgency in eastern Ukraine widely believed to be backed by Moscow. Prior U.S. sanctions hit Russian individuals and companies. The new sanctions stop short of fully cutting off key Russian economic sectors.
What's next in Ukraine? A 10-day ceasefire in eastern Ukraine expired Monday night, with no immediate word from the country's president on whether he would extend it, and no sign that the pro-Moscow separatists had met his demands to ease the violence. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discussed the situation in a phone call with leaders of Russia, Germany and France. He repeatedly said the rebels had not fulfilled the conditions of the ceasefire.