NATO Admits Putin Isn't Backing Down Over Ukraine, So It'll Ramp Up Its Own Military Presence In Eastern Europe
President Vladimir Putin has made his decision, and he's sticking with it — and even the North Atlantic Treaty Organization seems to know the Federation won't back down. NATO sees no sign that Russia will pull back its troops from the Ukrainian border, officials said Tuesday, and the alliance is looking to amp up its military presence in Eastern Europe in response.
Though Putin and co have made claims of a partial withdrawal, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the continuous build-up of troops isn't helping attempts to calm the crisis, according to CNN. The best way to solve the situation is a dialogue with Ukraine, the NATO chief explained.
Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday that he'd ordered a withdrawal of some troops, but Rasmussen said they'd seen no evidence of that. NATO foreign ministers from the 28 alliance members are meeting in Brussels for the first time since the annexation of Crimea. On Tuesday, they plan to address the growing conflict between Ukraine and the Federation, which has been fueled by Russia's massing of 40,000 forces.
The country's been on a sweeping takeover as of late: gaining control of Black Sea peninsula, starting the process of turning Crimean residents into Russian citizens, and claiming everything as theirs — including Ukraine's dolphins. In a counter attempt, NATO is considering military exercises on their part and increasing air surveillance in Eastern European countries.
Response from the alliance comes nearly a week after President Obama called for NATO's "regular presence" in "vulnerable" countries. Meanwhile, Moscow continues to call the shots, with Russia warning Ukraine against integration with NATO, advising the country not to develop a closer relationship that could further strain relations.
Why does Russia care so much about what Ukraine does, anyway? There's the issues with world power and all of Putin's ego jazz, but it also comes down to economic interests. Gas pipelines run though Ukraine, allowing Russia to provide large amounts to Europe.
In another subtle blow, the price Ukraine pays for Russian natural gas will increase starting Tuesday. The move is the latest strategy of one-upping in the escalating international tensions between Putin and the West.