NATO commander warns of Russian threat to separatist Moldova region
Monday, March 24, 2014 - 01:46
March 24 - NATO's top military chief says Russia has 'very sizeable' and 'very ready' force at Ukrainian border and may have its sights on Moldova, ahead of world leaders summit in the Netherlands. Vanessa Johnston reports.
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NATO'S top military chief said on Sunday that Russia had built up troops on its border with Ukraine.
The U.S. Air Force General, Philip Breedlove also warned that Russia may have its sights on another ex-Soviet Republic - Moldova - after annexing Crimea.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE, U.S. AIR FORCE GENERAL, PHILIP BREEDLOVE, SAYING:
"The (Russian) force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizable and very, very ready. You can not defend against that if you are not there to defend against it. So I think we need to think about our allies, the positioning of our forces in the Alliance and the readiness of those forces in the Alliance such that we can be there to defend against it if required, especially in the Baltics and other places."
British Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain has no plans to mobilize troops over Ukraine, but stressed his support for NATO, ahead of G7 talks in the Netherlands on Monday.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING:
"I don't think it is necessary to change our plans to base British soldiers in Britain, but I think what is important is that we send a very clear message to our NATO partners and allies that we believe in NATO and that we believe in their security. That is why for instance we are helping some of the Baltic states with their defense and their needs. That is what we should be doing and that is what we are very much committed to doing."
The U.S. and the European Union have threatened broader economic sanctions if Russian forces encroach on other parts of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is complying with international agreements and has no plans to invade.
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