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Shows & Panels
Search Tags: Ukraine
Secretary Hagel met Thursday with Ukraine Minister of Defense Colonel General Valeriy Heletey to discuss the ongoing security situation in Ukraine. The two leaders spoke on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Wales. Hagel praised the actions of the Ukrainian armed forces in their current engagements in Eastern Ukraine and pledged continued U.S. support for their efforts. Minister Heletey thanked Secretary Hagel for that support, which includes millions of dollars of non-lethal material and assistance.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.