France’s Sale of 2 Ships to Russians Annoys U.S.
In a closed-door meeting in February 2010, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates urged his French counterpart not to proceed with the sale of two amphibious assault ships to Russia because it “would send the wrong message to Russia and to our allies in Central and East Europe.”
The French official, Hervé Morin, acknowledged that each of the ships — so-called Mistral-class vessels built for the French Navy to carry troops, landing craft, and helicopters — was “indeed a warship for power projection,” according to a confidential diplomatic cable on the meeting, which was made public by WikiLeaks. But Mr. Morin “asked rhetorically how we can tell Russia we desire partnership but then not trust them,” the cable added.
Putin Demands Ukraine Pay Ahead for Gas Supply
Russia said Thursday that it would only deliver gas to Ukraine if the troubled country pays in advance, intensifying efforts to bring its neighbor back under its control, the Associated Press reports.
Ukraine has faced economic near-collapse since the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February, and has been kept afloat in part by a $3.2 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund, which has offered a total aid package of $17 billion over two years.
US Should Send More Troops to Baltic States?
Putting American boots on the ground in the Baltic states is the solution to stopping Russia’s further territorial ambitions, which are rooted in President Vladimir Putin’s inability to accept the end of the Cold War, said former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
In an interview with Carlos Watson, co-founder and CEO of Ozy.com, a new daily digital magazine, Rice also signaled her support for the investigations into the Benghazi scandal, saying it does not need to be a partisan issue, but Congress has a constitutional right to continue investigating — particularly since there are “still unanswered questions.”