Further Russian intervention in Ukraine, following its annexation of Crimea, would be a “historic mistake” that would deepen Russia’s international isolation, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday.
“If Russia were to intervene further in Ukraine, I wouldn’t hesitate to call it an historic mistake. That would lead to further international isolation of Russia. It would have far reaching consequences for the relations between Russia and … the Western world. It would be a miscalculation with huge strategic implications,” he told a news conference after a meeting of alliance foreign ministers.
‘Very ready force’
Russia has massed all the forces it needs on Ukraine’s border if it were to decide to carry out an “incursion” into the country and it could achieve its objective “in three to five days,” NATO’s top military commander said on Wednesday.
“This is a very large and very capable and very ready force,” said NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, referring to the presence of an estimated 40,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s border.
Calling the situation “incredibly concerning”, Breedlove said NATO had spotted signs of movement by a very small part of the Russian force overnight but had no indication that it was returning to barracks.