March 23, 2014
Nato’s military commander in Europe has issued a warning about the build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s border. Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen Philip Breedlove said Nato was in particular concerned about the threat to Moldova’s Trans-Dniester region. Russia said its forces east of Ukraine complied with international agreements. The build-up has been allied with Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, following the removal of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president. Moscow formally annexed Crimea after the predominantly ethnic-Russian region held a referendum which backed joining the Russian Federation. Kiev and the West have condemned the vote as “illegal”.
Russian flags have now been hoisted at 189 Ukrainian military units and facilities in Crimea, the Interfax news agency reports. Moscow’s ambassador to the EU told the BBC the “reunification” had not been pre-planned but was the end of an “abnormality” which had lasted for 60 years. Vladimir Chizhov also said said Moscow did not have any “expansionist views” and that “nobody should fear Russia”.