UK & World News
Ukraine Crisis May Force Nato To Deploy Troops
Nato will consider deploying troops permanently in parts of Eastern Europe due to the increased tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
Its top military commander, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said: "I think this is something we will have to consider and we will tee this up for discussion through the leaderships of our nations to see where that leads.
"We need to look at our responsiveness, our readiness and then our positioning of forces to be able to address this new paradigm that we have seen demonstrated in Crimea and now on the eastern border of Ukraine."
Nato currently has a number of short-term army, air force and naval rotations in Eastern Europe until the end of this year.
General Breedlove, who said earlier this week that Moscow is unlikely to send troops into eastern Ukraine, insisted the steps that Nato had taken so far were designed to support eastern members of the alliance.
"We are taking measures that should be very easily discerned as being defensive in nature," he added.
"This is about assuring our allies, not provoking Russia, and we are communicating that at every level."
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry has slammed moves by pro-Russian separatist groups in eastern Ukraine to organise a referendum on May 11.
He said it was a new bid by Moscow to annex more territory.
"This is really the Crimea playbook all over again, and no civilised nation is going to recognise the results of such a bogus effort.
"We flatly reject this illegal effort to further divide Ukraine.".
Russian President Vladimir Putin has 40,000 troops on the border with Ukraine but has so far held off ordering an invasion to "protect" the Russian-speaking population.