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Search Tags: Russia
The Obama administration is expressing new concerns about rising violence in eastern Ukraine, including the downing of a military helicopter by pro-Russian rebels battling the government. The White House on Thursday called on Russia to exert pressure on the separatists to get them to end the fighting and release international monitors detained in eastern Ukraine since earlier this week.
The Pentagon says Russia is not withdrawing its troops from the Ukraine border, despite Moscow's claim that the order to pull out has been given. Rear Adm. John Kirby says small numbers of Russian troops have gone back and forth to forward operating bases near the border, but the U.S. has seen no movement of Russian troops back to their home bases. NATO says Russia has 40,000 troops along the border.
The Pentagon says if Russian troops were really pulling back from the border with Ukraine, then "we would know," a spokesman told the Associated Press. He says that doesn't seem to be happening. Russian President Vladimir Putin says his troops have been moved away from the border region. Putin has also called on Ukraine's military to stop its operations against pro-Russia activists who have seized government buildings and police stations in at least a dozen towns in eastern Ukraine.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke Monday by phone with Russia's Minister of Defense. The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues related to the situation in Ukraine, with Sec. Hagel requesting clarification of Russia's intentions in Eastern Ukraine. Sergei Shoygu reiterated his assurance that Russian forces would not invade Ukraine. Sec. Hagel emphasized how dangerous the situation remains and expressed his desire to find a responsible way forward. Regarding recent actions by Ukrainian security forces, Sec. Hagel reiterated the right of the government of Ukraine to preserve law and order within its own borders.
Russian fighter jets flew into Ukraine several times last week. It's not clear what the intent was, but the aircraft may have been testing Ukrainian radar. The West has threatened additional sanctions against Russia if it continues its aggressive behavior in Ukraine.
The Pentagon sharply criticized Russia's latest announcement on Thursday, the Associated Press reports. DoD is concerned that Russia is, "starting military drills near the border with Ukraine and called on Moscow to take steps to lower, not escalate, tensions. Moscow has said the drills were a response to Ukrainian operations against pro-Russian separatists and NATO exercises in eastern Europe."
With all the misinformation flying around about what's happening in Ukraine, the CIA is disconnecting Director John Brennan's weekend visit to Kiev from the crackdown in eastern Ukraine. "The claim that Director Brennan encouraged Ukrainian authorities to conduct tactical operations inside Ukraine is completely false. Like other senior U.S. officials, Director Brennan strongly believes that a diplomatic solution is the only way to resolve the crisis between Russia and Ukraine," said a CIA spokesperson in a statement.
The United States will deploy F-16 fighter jets to Romania this month as part of planned joint exercises in the wake of rising tensions in neighboring Ukraine after Russia's annexation of Crimea. President Barack Obama has said NATO needs to boost its presence in eastern European countries that feel vulnerable to Russia. The small Baltic states are particularly nervous about a more assertive Russia.
Senate Bill 3285 would grant Russia permanent normal trade status, requiring the U.S. to provide Russia with tariff and trade treatment that's no less beneficial than what the U.S. applies to any other country with the same status.
America's critical computer networks are so vulnerable to attack, it should act as a deterrent to war, U.S. cybersecurity expert, Richard Clarke said, according to the Associated Press.