As the United States and coalition partners confront ISIS across Syria which has suffered a string of territorial losses in the divided country, a defiant North Korea, who just carried out another missile test earlier today, and an upcoming Russian military exercise along NATO’s borders in Belarus and Kaliningrad, planned in just 3 weeks could test America’s military alliances in Asia and Eastern Europe at a time when President Trump recently agreed to make a stronger U.S. military commitment to an unstable Afghanistan.
Yesterday President Trump held a press conference from the White House with Finnish President NIINISTÖ and told reporters that the U.S. is very protective of the Baltic region where Russian air force jets and NATO jets have recently encountered more intercepts and confrontations.
” We are very, very protective. We have great friends there, great relationships there. We are extremely protective” President Trump said.
Russian is expected to conduct a large scale military exercise in Belarus and Kaliningrad in mid September with some estimates as high as 100,000 Russian military troops and support staff participating in the planned Russian exercise which is raising concerns in Eastern Europe, especially after Russia conducted a large scale military incursion in Crimea with Russian military troops wearing military clothing that contained no identified insignia in early 2014 before the Kremlin annexed the Ukrainian territory, resulting in international sanctions.
On August 24th U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the Presidential Palace in Kiev and said that the U.S. stands with Ukraine in the midst of threats to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Refusing to accept Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea, U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson said that despite Russia’s denials, “we know they are seeking to redraw international borders by force, undermining the sovereign and free nations of Europe.”
Secretary Tillerson made it clear that Russia had violated the terms of the Budapest Memorandum towards Ukraine that was agreed upon in 1994 between the U.S., U.K., and Ukraine which gave assurances that “all parties would respect its independence, sovereignty and existing borders.”
Based on the terms of the Budapest Memorandum, Russia agreed to not threaten Ukraine or use force in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.
Secretary Tillerson said that unfortunately Russia is not adhering to their past international commitment with the Budapest Memorandum in addition to the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act which forbids Russia from the “threat or use of force against each other or any other state, its sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence.”
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