BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO chose former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as its next leader on Friday at a time when the Western military alliance must deal with a resurgent Russia following its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.
Stoltenberg will take over as secretary-general of the 28-nation grouping on October 1, succeeding former Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has led NATO since 2009.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union governments are expected to pledge soldiers and equipment on Friday allowing the EU to launch its delayed peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic, the EU’s top military officer said.
The EU has drawn up plans to send 800 to 1,000 soldiers to join 6,000 African and 2,000 French troops struggling to stop a conflict that erupted after the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power a year ago in the majority Christian state.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO needs to boost its presence in eastern European countries that feel vulnerable to Russia after its annexation of Crimea, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.
Some defense experts have said the Crimea crisis could put NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia back on the agenda, but Obama said neither country was on a path to NATO membership and there were no immediate plans to expand the 28-member alliance.
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that U.S. intelligence agencies were not snooping on ordinary citizens, but admitted it would take time to win back the trust of European governments and people after revelations of extensive U.S. surveillance.
Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the sweep of the National Security Agency’s monitoring activities triggered a national debate over privacy rights but also damaged relations with some European governments.
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has emerged as the favorite to take over the leadership of NATO later this year as the Western military alliance faces a challenge from a newly assertive Russia, diplomats said on Monday.
Several diplomats said Stoltenberg, who served for a total of nearly 10 years as Norway’s prime minister before losing power in elections last September, has the backing of the United States, NATO’s dominant power, and Germany. A number of other countries were also rallying around his candidacy.
BRUSSELS/FEODOSIA, Ukraine (Reuters) – NATO’s top military commander said on Sunday Russia had built up a “very sizeable” force on its border with Ukraine and Moscow may have a region in another ex-Soviet republic, Moldova, in its sights after annexing Crimea.
Russia was acting more like an adversary than a partner, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove said, and the 28-nation alliance should rethink the positioning and readiness of its forces in eastern Europe.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s top military commander said on Sunday that Russia had built up a large force on Ukraine’s eastern border and he was worried Moscow may be eyeing Moldova’s mainly Russian-speaking separatist Transdniestria region after annexing Crimea.
NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, voiced concern about Moscow using a tactic of snap military exercises to prepare its forces for possible rapid incursions into a neighboring state, as it had done in the case of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton voiced deep concern on Saturday over the fragility of Ukraine’s economy and urged the rest of the world to rally round to support it.
“We have to make sure that Ukraine, economically, does not fall over … My biggest fear right now is the state of economy and the need for us all to offer the support that they need,” Ashton told an event organized by the German Marshall Fund think tank. “How do we make sure this economy holds together?”
MOSCOW/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin signed laws completing Russia’s annexation of Crimea on Friday as investors took fright at a U.S. decision to slap sanctions on his inner circle of money men and security officials.
Putin promised to protect a bank partly owned by an old ally, which Washington has blacklisted, and his spokesman said Russia would respond in kind to the latest financial and visa curbs after producing one blacklist of its own.
MOSCOW/BRUSSELS, March 21 (Reuters) – President Vladimir
Putin signed laws completing Russia’s annexation of Crimea on
Friday, as investors took fright at a U.S. decision to slap
sanctions on his inner circle of money men and security
Putin promised to protect a bank partly owned by an old
ally, which Washington has blacklisted, and his spokesman said
Russia would respond in kind to the financial and visa curbs.