NATO 'Poised' to Help Ukraine Defend Itself, President Obama Says

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NATO is "poised to do more to help Ukraine strengthen its forces and defend their country" as it battles pro-Moscow separatists, President Barack Obama told reporters during a visit to Estonia on Wednesday. Obama arrived in the ex-Soviet Baltic state on his way to a NATO summit, during which the security alliance is expected to back a rapid-reaction force that can swoop into hot spots in Eastern Europe. "One of our goals ... is once again to project unity across NATO on behalf of Ukraine's attempts to maintain its sovereignty," he said.

"No realistic political settlement can be achieved if effectively Russia says we are going to continue to send tanks and troops and arms and advisers under the guise of separatists, who are not homegrown, and the only possible settlement is if Ukraine cedes its territory or its sovereignty," Obama added. The Kremlin denies it is supporting pro-Moscow rebels who have been fighting Ukrainian soldiers since April. At least 1,000 Russian troops are in Ukraine, according to NATO, which has released what it says are satellite photos of Russian self-propelled artillery units.


- F. Brinley Bruton