Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Andriy Parubiy said Ukraine will hold joint military exercises with the United Kingdom and America.
On Monday, the day after Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine for Russia, Crimea’s government announced they would seize Ukraine property and disband the Ukrainian military. Pro-Russian forces opened fire on a base in Simferopol on Tuesday, killing one Ukrainian soldier. Then, on Wednesday morning, another group of pro-Russian forces captured Ukraine’s Navy headquarters in Sevastopol.
Ukraine’s defense ministry was determined to fight for Crimea, but Parubiy said the government will pull troops from the peninsula. He will ask the United Nations to help Ukraine move the troops back to the mainland.
Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had no plans to invade east Ukraine or the Baltic states, many world leaders are preparing for anything from Russia. Military exercises with the UK and US will help prepare Ukraine’s depleted military defend the borders, but Parubiy did not reveal any details. The two countries signed the Budapest Memorandum, along with Russia, to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Vice President Joe Biden visited Poland on Tuesday and the three Baltic states–Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia–to reassure America’s NATO allies the US will defend them if Russia takes any action against them. NATO Security General Anders Fogh Rasmussen addressed the issue on Wednesday.
“This is a wake-up call,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a Washington think tank.
He lambasted Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s strategic Crimean Peninsula as illegal and illegitimate, and repeated NATO’s decision to suspend a joint maritime escort with Russia for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.
“This is the gravest threat to European security and stability since the end of the Cold War,” Rasmussen said in a speech at the Brookings Institution.
President Obama said the US will not hold military exercises with Ukraine. He believes the way to solve the Ukraine-Russia crisis is diplomatically and using the military would be inappropriate.