WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2014 —
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today called Russia’s actions in Ukraine “dangerous and irresponsible” and said the tensions provoked by Moscow have probably done more to unify NATO than anything else in years.
“It has brought the world together in a way where they are isolating themselves by their actions,” Hagel said of Russia, as he took questions from Marines during a visit to North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune.
‘Very Dangerous’ Actions
One service member asked the defense secretary if he envisioned the United States becoming more involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Russia’s actions toward Ukraine, as well as stepped-up Russian military air flights over European airspace and plans for similar flights over the Gulf of Mexico are “very dangerous,” Hagel said.
“The violations of sovereignty and international law that the Russians have perpetuated continue to require responses,” the defense secretary said. The United States is working with NATO “in shifting our entire rotational rapid deployment focus,” he added.
U.S. European Command chief Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove , who is also NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, has said Russian military equipment continues to flow across the border into Ukraine, something Russia denies.
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