Huffpost Politics

Chuck Hagel Speaks With Russian Defense Chief About Crimea Tensions

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
US defense minister Chuck Hagel gives a joint press conference after a second day of a defence ministers 'meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Februrary 27, 2014. NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday warned Russia not take any action over Crimea that could stoke tensions or misunderstandings in the Ukraine crisis. AFP PHOTO/JOHN THYS        (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
US defense minister Chuck Hagel gives a joint press conference after a second day of a defence ministers 'meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Februrary 27, 2014. NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday warned Russia not take any action over Crimea that could stoke tensions or misunderstandings in the Ukraine crisis. AFP PHOTO/JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)


(Adds McCain statement, background)

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke on Saturday with his Russian counterpart, a U.S. official told Reuters, as Russian President Vladimir Putin secured his parliament's authority to invade Ukraine.

Asked whether some U.S. military units had been on alert over turmoil in the Crimean peninsula, the official said there was no change in the U.S. military's stance. The U.S. focus was on diplomatic options, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official gave no details of Hagel's conversation with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Putin was given quick authority on Saturday by Russia's parliament to invade Ukraine after troops seized control of the Crimea peninsula.

The developments came a day after Obama had warned that there would be "costs" if there was military intervention by Russia in Ukraine, where Moscow ally President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted last week.

U.S. Senator John McCain, a leading Republican voice on foreign affairs who often advocates a more forceful approach by Washington, called on Obama on Saturday to "articulate exactly what those costs will be and to take steps urgently to impose them."

"Every moment that the United States and our allies fail to respond sends the signal to President Putin that he can be even more ambitious and aggressive in his military intervention in Ukraine," McCain said in a statement.

"There is a range of serious options at our disposal at this time without the use of military force."

Another leading Senate Republican, Bob Corker, called on Obama to lead an international response that could include sanctions. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Bill Trott and Frances Kerry)

Also on HuffPost:

Secretaries Of Defense
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Hagel Warns Russia Not to Intervene in Ukraine - NYTimes.com

Chuck Hagel Urges Russia to 'Avoid Provocative Actions' In Ukraine

Hagel urges Russia to act cautiously on Ukraine - Yahoo News

Ukraine crisis deepens as West urges Russia not to act - CBS News

Hagel urges Russia: Avoid provocations in Ukraine - World Israel ...

Chuck Hagel: Russia Provided Some Chemical Weapons To Syria

Chuck Hagel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chuck Hagel speaks to Russian defence minister as Ukraine tensions rise

Hagel Warns Russia Not to Intervene in Ukraine