World Bulletin / News Desk
An increasingly assertive Russia is undermining the legal underpinnings of the international community, said NATO’s top leader on Monday.
"Russia is not just trying to recreate a sphere of influence," Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO secretary-general, warned while speaking at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington. "It has dealt a dangerous blow to the international rules-based system we have built up over decades."
Rasmussen emphasized that putting an end to Europe’s dependency on Russian energy is "of the utmost strategic importance."
"As we've seen in Ukraine, Russia is quite capable of turning off the taps," he cautioned.
Rasmussen is approaching the end of his nearly five-year term at the helm of NATO. He is in Washington on what is likely to be his last major public visit before Jens Stoltenberg assumes the top spot in October.
Stoltenberg will be faced with the fallout from successive face-offs with Russia over Ukraine and Syria that have tested the resolve of the transatlantic alliance, amid decreased defense spending from member countries.
Rasmussen said he will use an upcoming NATO summit in Wales from September 4-5 to call on NATO member states to live up to their defense spending obligations.
NATO guidelines stipulate that members are to spend two percent of their gross domestic product on defense.
Rasmussen lauded Estonia for joining the U.S., Greece and the U.K. in meeting the two percent benchmark, and said that Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Turkey have committed to doing the same.
If all European allies met their two percent obligations this year, the alliance would have another $90 billion at its disposal, according to Rasmussen.
He will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday. The two leaders will discuss developments in Ukraine, improving allied defense spending, and NATO’s post-2014 non-combat mission in Afghanistan, according to the White House.
The NATO chief will depart Washington for the U.S. city of San Francisco to deliver remarks at the Marines’ Memorial Club and Hotel on July 9.
The latest conciliatory declarations capped a turbulent few days of diplomatic brinkmanship on the Korean Peninsula that had sent tensions soaring.
This is first election after deal with FARC rebels to end decades-long insurgency in country
Trump, in a tweet, did not identify Holt by name but Utah Senator Orrin Hatch confirmed that the Utah resident had been freed.
Platini was banned from all football-related activities, later reduced on appeal to four years, by FIFA following a $2 million payment he received from the body in 2011 for work he did a decade earlier, with no contract to show for the deal.
The airstrike was believed to have been carried out by a U.S.-led coalition warplane
Video shows desecration with bacon, ‘bodily fluids’
South Korea's presidential office celebrates possible resurrection of Trump-Kim summit
For 9th Friday in row, Palestinians demonstrate near Gaza-Israel security fence despite risk of violent Israeli response
Baghdad says strikes are pre-approved by regime in Damascus
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday claiming Anchorage Correctional Complex had violated constitutional prohibitions against "cruel and unusual punishment."
Turkmen, Arabs in oil-rich Kirkuk say results of May 12 parliamentary poll were manipulated, demand recount
Use of electronic voting machines in Iraq’s May 12 polls has led to allegations of electoral fraud
Mahmoud Abbas last year reduced salaries of 60,000 Gaza-based Palestinian Authority employees
'This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history,' Trump writes in letter