Putin compares Kiev to the Nazis, Ukraine seeks Nato membership
Ukraine has pleaded for full membership in Nato, signalling a desire for increased Western military protection from Russian aggression.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told government yesterday that his cabinet would "bring before parliament a law to scrap the non-aligned status of the Ukrainian state and establish a course towards membership of Nato."
Nato membership would come with a mutual defence pact with Britain and the US, but would be an unprecedented move considering Nato previously rejected Ukraine as a member in 2008.
The intergovernmental alliance held an emergency meeting yesterday after releasing satellite images they claim show Russian self-propelled artillery inside Ukraine.
Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said yesterday that the organisation would respect Ukraine's decision to seek out membership, and accused Russia of a blatant breach of Ukraine's sovereignty. He 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.
This is not an isolated action, but part of a dangerous pattern over many months to destabilize Ukraine as a sovereign nation.
The Financial Times has reported that David Cameron will reveal the formation of a new joint expeditionary force, set up as a response to Russian aggression and made up of seven states, at a Nato summit in Wales next week.
Britain, Norway, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and the Netherlands are named as the states involved in an expeditionary force reported to be made up of 10,000 personnel and will improve Nato's power of response to Russia.
Meanwhile, speaking at a youth camp in Russia, Vladimir Putin compared Ukraine to the Nazis and said Russia's partners should understand "it's best not to mess with us".
Small villages and large cities surrounded by the Ukrainian army which is directly hitting residential areas with the aim of destroying the infrastructure.
It sadly reminds me of the events of the Second World War, when German fascist occupiers surrounded our cities.
The rouble has continued to fall as the Ukraine crisis rumbles on, falling 0.98 per cent against the Euro yesterday.