Ukraine updates: U.S. sending jets, increasing NATO presence in response to crisis
By End the Lie
The United States has dispatched six fighter jets and one refueling aircraft to Lithuania, part of a larger expansion of the NATO presence in the Baltic in response to Russian moves in Ukraine.
Events in the region are rapidly evolving with a U.S. warship getting cleared to enter the Black Sea, the pledging of $1 billion in aid and threats of increased sanctions on Russia.
An unnamed defense official confirmed that the Pentagon will dispatch six additional F-15s and one KC-135 to “augment the mission” in Baltic countries, according to Fox News. Currently, four American F-15s participate in the Baltic Air Policing rotation.
“This action comes at the request of our Baltic Allies and further demonstrates our commitment to NATO security,” the official said.
The Pentagon is also now “consulting” with Polish officials on “increasing activities” linked to a separate mission in Poland.
Putin and Hitler
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea to Adolph Hitler’s in the 1930s, according to the Long Beach Press Telegram.
Clinton’s remarks on Tuesday were similar to those made by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Speaking at the University of California, Los Angeles, on Tuesday, Clinton said Putin is squandering his country’s potential, according to the Associated Press.
UN envoy threatened
The special envoy sent to Crimea by the United Nations was forced to abandon his mission after pro-Russian gunmen reportedly threatened him and protesters later heckled him.
Robert Serry was dispatched to the region by UN chief Ban Ki-moon to assess the situation in Crimea.
Some 10 to 15 gunmen outside of the Ukrainian naval headquarters in Simferopol confronted Serry and warned him that he “should leave Crimea,” according to Australia’s ABC.
While a group of hostile pro-Russian activists briefly blocked his exit from a café, self-defense militias in Simferopol guaranteed his security and he immediately got on a flight to Istanbul.
“He is in good shape physically but he feels threatened,” UN deputy secretary general Jan Eliasson.
$15 billion in European aid
The European Union announced an offer of at least $15 billion in aid to Ukraine on Wednesday.
Aid would be delivered over the next few years and is aimed at helping stabilize the economy and financial system in the country.
This comes as analysts have predicted that Ukraine could default on billions of dollars in debts this month, according to CNNMoney.
“The country owes roughly $13 billion in debt this year,” CNNMoney reports. Since much of the Ukrainian debt is denominated in U.S. dollars, it will be even more difficult to pay given the drop in Ukrainian currency.
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