Putin Rejects NATO Accusations of Aggression
Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected accusations that he has effectively invaded Ukraine, likening the behavior of Ukrainian forces in the conflict to Nazis and threatening to take his standoff with the West into the disputed territory of the Arctic.
The Guardian reports:
Hours after Barack Obama accused Russia of sending troops into Ukraine and fuelling an upsurge in the separatist war, Putin retorted that the Ukrainian army was the villain of the piece, targeting residential areas of towns and cities like German troops did in the former Soviet Union.
He added that Russians and Ukrainians “are practically one people”, reprising a theme of an earlier statement in which he referred to the disputed areas of south-eastern Ukraine as Novorossiya – a throwback to tsarist times when the area was ruled from Moscow.
And he made a pointed reference to the Arctic, which with its bounteous energy reserves and thawing waterways is emerging as a new potential conflict between Russia and its western rivals. “Our interests are concentrated in the Arctic. And of course we should pay more attention to issues of development of the Arctic and the strengthening of our position,” Putin told a youth camp outside Moscow.
Russia stands accused of sending as many as 1,000 soldiers and arms across the border into Ukraine to assist the separatist insurrection. NATO ambassadors emerged from an emergency meeting Friday morning to accuse Putin of “blatant violation” of Ukrainian sovereignty. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “Despite Moscow’s hollow denials, it is now clear that Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border into eastern and south-eastern Ukraine.”
Read more here.
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.