Ukraine’s bid to join Nato may trig­ger new Cold War

Sunday Express - - Front Page - By Will Ste­wart and John In­g­ham

BRI­TAIN risks be­ing sucked into a war with Rus­sia af­ter Ukraine said yes­ter­day that it wants to join Nato.

As Ger­many warned that the cri­sis is “out of con­trol”, Ukraine’s prime min­is­ter Arseny Yat­se­niuk said he will seek the pro­tec­tion of the 28-na­tion al­liance fol­low­ing months of con­flict with Rus­sia.

Ahead of next week’s Nato sum­mit in Wales, Ukraine’s del­e­gate Ihor Dol­hov said: “What we need is more as­sis­tance, in­clud­ing mil­i­tary. We can pro­tect our­selves but need as­sis­tance to stop ag­gres­sion.”

Nato has ruled out mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion fol­low­ing Rus­sia’s an­nex­a­tion of Crimea and sup­port for para­mil­i­tary rebels. But if Ukraine joined the al­liance it could ac­cel­er­ate the dawn of a new Cold War.

Rus­sia would see the move as provoca­tive be­cause an at­tack on one Nato mem­ber is seen as an at­tack on them all. Pres­i­dent Obama and Nato sec­re­tary gen­eral An­ders Fogh Ras­mussen ac­cused Rus­sia of send­ing troops and tanks into the Ukraine. Nato also re­leased satel­lite pic­tures show­ing the “vi­o­la­tion” of Ukrainian ter­ri­tory.

Bri­tain be­lieves Rus­sia has sent 1,000 troops, 100 tanks and 100 ar­tillery pieces as well as anti-tank weapons and mis­sile launch­ers.

Mr Obama said it was clear that Moscow had “de­lib­er­ately and re­peat­edly vi­o­lated the sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of Ukraine”.

He said: “The vi­o­lence is en­cour­aged by Rus­sia, the sep­a­ratists are trained by Rus­sia, they are armed by Rus­sia, they are funded by Rus­sia.”

The Rus­sian tanks filmed rum­bling through Ukraine were merely “a con­tin­u­a­tion of what’s been tak­ing place for months”, he added.

Nato’s Mr Ras­mussen said: “De­spite Moscow’s hol­low de­nials, it is now clear that Rus­sian troops and equip­ment have il­le­gally crossed the bor­der into east­ern and south­east­ern Ukraine.

“We urge Rus­sia to cease its il­le­gal mil­i­tary ac­tions, stop its sup­port to armed sep­a­ratists and take im­me­di­ate and ver­i­fi­able steps to­wards deesca­la­tion of this cri­sis.”

He said Nato would fully re­spect any de­ci­sion by the Ukrainian par­lia­ment to seek mem­ber­ship.

As he spoke Bri­tish troops be­gan Nato ex­er­cise Sabre Junc­tion in Poland, one of a se­ries de­signed to re­as­sure Nato mem­ber states once in the old War­saw Pact.

Nato mem­bers shied away from let­ting Ukraine join, with Hol­land say­ing it would not help to solve the cri­sis which has led to 2,593 peo­ple be­ing killed since April.

Rus­sian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin com­pared Kiev’s of­fen­sive against sep­a­ratists in Ukraine to the Nazi siege of Len­ingrad.

He said: “It sadly re­minds me of the events of the Sec­ond World War, when Ger­man fas­cist oc­cu­pants sur­rounded our cities.”

Pic­ture: SERGEI SUPINSKY/GETTY

A mil­i­tary at­tache in Kiev ex­am­ines a Rus­sian tank yes­ter­day af­ter it was seized from sep­a­ratists by Ukrainian forces

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