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Moscow-friendly Greece could 'paralyse' NATO
by Staff Writers
Warsaw (AFP) March 25, 2015


Ukraine receives first batch of US Humvees
Kiev (AFP) March 25, 2015 - Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday took delivery of ten US armoured vehicles, two days after American lawmakers voted to urge President Barack Obama to provide "lethal" aid to Kiev.

Dressed in camouflage, the Ukraine leader thanked Washington for the 10 Humvees, the first of 30 promised by Washington, as they arrived at Kiev's Boryspil International Airport.

In total, the US plans to send 200 regular Humvees, radios, counter-mortar radars and other non-lethal equipment worth $75 million.

The US House of Representatives on Monday voted 348-48 in favour of putting pressure on Obama to ship "lethal defensive weapon systems" to help Kiev forces defend against Russian "aggression".

Obama has so far resisted calls to provide Kiev with weapons and other heavy military equipment, but House Democrat Eliot Engel, the lead sponsor of the resolution, told colleagues it was time to stop treating the Ukraine crisis "as just some faraway conflict."

The United Nations estimates that more than 6,000 people have been killed in fighting between Ukraine forces and pro-Russian separatists in the country's east since April.

Kiev and its allies in the West accuse Russia of arming and spearheading the pro-Kremlin uprising, but Moscow denies the allegation.

A ceasefire signed on February 12 has largely held despite sporadic fighting along the frontline.

A Moscow-friendly Greece could paralyse NATO's ability to react to Russian aggression, former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski warned Wednesday.

Athens could use its veto to slow the alliance's response if Russia set its sights on its Baltic member states, he told Poland's Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

The Cold War-era hawk, who worked for president Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981, said Poland too "could be a target" after Russia's annexation of Crimea last year, as well as former Soviet states such as Moldova, Georgia and oil-rich Azerbaijan.

NATO's Article 5 commits the 28-member alliance to respond collectively if a member is attacked, he said.

"But NATO is bound by the principle of unanimity," Polish-born Brzezinski said, warning that the alliance "could be paralysed for some time...namely by Greece, which is a friend of Russia and wields veto power."

Greece's radical left government is cultivating ties with Russia amid Athens' scramble to avoid bankruptcy.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 8 in Moscow before returning for an annual Victory Day parade in May.

Greek officials have openly floated the prospect of Athens turning to Russia or China for help if loan talks with the EU end in failure.

Since it sliced Crimea away from Ukraine last year, Russia has engaged in sabre rattling in the Baltic region.

Earlier this year, Brzezinski urged the US and its allies to deploy troops to Baltic states to deter Russia from staging a possible incursion into the formerly Soviet-ruled countries.

NATO is deploying more aircraft, ships and personnel for exercises on its eastern flank, which lay behind the Iron Curtain a quarter of a century ago.

NATO has also created a force of 5,000 troops capable of rapid deployment and will establish command centres in the Baltic states, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania by 2016.


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