Putin wants to rewrite Europe boundaries: Hillary Clinton
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
REUTERS PhotoFormer US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Tuesday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of attempting to "rewrite the boundaries" of post-World War II Europe.
It came as Putin signed a treaty claiming the Black Sea region of Crimea as Russian territory, as Ukraine warned the showdown had entered a "military stage" after soldiers were killed on both sides.
The treaty signing was conducted at lightning speed in the Kremlin in a defiant expansion of Russia's post-Soviet borders that has plunged relations with the West to a new post-Cold War low.
"We've got to do a better job in supporting the government in Kiev, we've got to do a better job in getting Europe to do more for themselves when it comes to energy so they're not dependent," said Clinton, a potential 2016 Democratic US presidential candidate.
"It's an effort by Putin to rewrite the boundaries of post-World War II Europe," Clinton, also a former US first lady, told a conference organized by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, to applause.
"I hope there's not another Cold War, obviously nobody wants to see that. Primarily, it's up to Putin."
Clinton, who narrowly lost the Democratic nomination in 2008, added: "The rationale that Putin uses (in Crimea) -- that they were ethnic Russians, Russian speakers, that they've always been part of Russia -- it could be extended not only to other parts of Ukraine but also to other parts of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Transnistria.
"There are a lot of places where there are ethnic Russians and Russian speakers."
NATO chief condemns Crimea annexation
NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday condemned Russia's "illegal" annexation of Crimea and urged restraint from both Moscow and Kiev after the death of a Ukrainian soldier.
"Russia has disregarded all calls to step back into line with international law and continues down the dangerous path," Rasmussen said in a statement.
"There can be no justification to continue on this course of action that can only deepen Russia's international isolation," he said.
Merkel, Obama call Crimea grab 'unacceptable'
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama agreed in a telephone call Tuesday that Ukraine's territorial integrity had suffered "unacceptable blows", a German government spokesman said.
"The one-sided declaration of Crimea's independence and the absorption into the Russian Federation that started today are unacceptable blows against the territorial integrity of Ukraine," the spokesman said in a statement.
"The European Union does neither recognise the illegal and illegitimate referendum in Crimea nor its outcome. The European Union does not and will not recognise the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation," EU president Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said in a joint statement -
UN chief Ban Ki-moon's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said that he has been following "with mounting concern first the holding of the referendum and now actions taken in relation to the annexation of Crimea" and "strongly urges resumption of a constructive dialogue between all concerned parties in order to resolve this crisis."