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NATO commander warns of threat to Transdniestria

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 - 01:57

March 24 - NATO commander warns of Russian threat to separatist Moldova region, after annexing Crimea. Sarah Toms reports.

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A Russian flag is now flying at this navy base in Crimea. Feodosia was one of the last bastions under Ukrainian control, but early on Monday it was siezed by Russian forces. The few remaining Ukrainian troops feel beleaguered and abandoned. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) UKRAINE NAVY CAPTAIN, OLEXANDER LANTUKH, SAYING: "Our personnel does not see any reasons why we should leave our vessels and our weapons here. We are soldiers and we are responsible for our vessels and our weapons. We were not taken over by anyone. No one won over us. And we see no real reasons why we should leave it here. But this is a question for politicians. We are against leaving without vessels and weapons, but we will fulfil orders coming from our higher command." Moscow formally annexed Crimea from Ukraine after a referendum which backed joining Russia. It followed the overthrow of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in February. Ukraine and the West condemned the vote in Crimea -- a mainly Russian speaking region. But now NATO's top commander warns of the buildup of Russian forces on Ukraine's border. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NATO'S SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE, U.S. AIR FORCE GENERAL PHILIP BREEDLOVE, SAYING: "If Russia is worried about a country moving towards the West, the way to solve that is an incursion, a frozen conflict. And now, no one wants to think about bringing that nation aboard into NATO because it might mean conflict with Russia." Russia says its forces east of Ukraine comply with international agreements. Nato is particularly concerned about the threat to Moldova's Trans-Dniester region, a narrow strip of land by Ukraine's south-western border. As officials warn that the risk of war with Russia is growing, these Ukrainian troops are caught in the middle, waiting for orders in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

NATO commander warns of threat to Transdniestria

Monday, Mar 24, 2014 - 01:57

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