World Bulletin/News Desk
Ukraine is on red alert as Russian military troops gathered near the border may be preparing to invade.
The U.S. has warned Russia, saying it must be transparent about military exercises along Ukraine's border and not take any steps that could be misinterpreted or "lead to miscalculation during a delicate time," U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered 150,000 troops to be ready for war games near Ukraine on Wednesday. On Thursday, Russia put fighter jets on combat alert.
Hagel, following NATO talks on Ukraine, said the United States expected other nations to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and avoid provocative actions.
"That's why I'm closely watching Russia's military exercises along the Ukrainian border, which they just announced yesterday," Hagel told a NATO news conference.
"I expect Russia to be transparent about these activities, and I urge them not to take any steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculation during a delicate time."
Hagel said he hoped to speak with his Russian counterpart in the next day or two.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia it would be a "grave mistake" to intervene militarily in Ukraine and said it was considering $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees and additional funding to help Kiev.
Earlier this month, a Kremlin aide warned that Moscow could intervene and accused Washington of breaching their 1994 treaty, under which Russia removed Soviet nuclear weapons from Ukraine.
It is unlikely the United States and its allies in NATO would risk an outright military confrontation with Russia. But the Russian rhetoric, ringing with echoes of the Cold War, underlines the high stakes in Ukraine, whose 46 million people and sprawling territory are caught in a geopolitical tug-of-war.
Armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament in Ukraine's Crimea on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev's new rulers. They urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around.
Asked about the situation in Crimea, Hagel said it was important to "keep the tensions down."
"This is a time for really cool, wise leadership, on the Russians' side, and on everyone's side," he said.
Ukraine's acting president warns Russia not to mobilize navy in Crimea
Ukraine's Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has warned Russia against mobilizing its navy in Crimea, saying that any such move would be regarded as an act of aggression.
Turchynov told the Verkhovna Rada - Ukraine's parliament - Thursday that all Russian troops in Crimea were expected to remain within the boundaries previously set for them.
Turchynov also condemned the armed occupation of the Crimean parliament.
On Wednesday, one person died from a heart attack and 26 others were injured in a clash between pro- and anti-Russian protesters outside the parliament. The local government cancelled a scheduled debate about the peninsula's future in Ukraine.
The political situation in Crimea has been tense since Ukraine was hit by large-scale protests that led to the end of Viktor Yanukovych's presidency.
Yanukovych's policy to move the country closer to Russia was met with widespread opposition in November last year after he scrapped a major trade and association deal with the European Union.
The ad’s sponsor, political blogger Pamela Geller, said on Friday she was pleased by a ruling by Philadelphia District Court Judge Mitchell Goldberg that a rejection of the ads would violate her First Amendment right of free speech.
Hundreds of demobilized child soldiers still need education, rehabilitation
The Philippines said on Thursday it would resume repair and reconstruction works in the disputed South China Sea.
Pakistan army fights off attack by dozens of fighters in Khyber Agency region, according to military agency.
The Saudi navy has evacuated 86 Saudi, Arab and Western diplomats from the southern Yemeni port city Aden, reported Al Arabiya News Channel on Saturday.
Yemen's Houthi rebels on Saturday claimed to have shot down a warplane from a Saudi-led coalition and captured its pilot during a bombing mission in the capital Sana'a.
More than 2,300 Palestinians killed and more than 17,000 injured, according to annual report by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
"We call on Arab countries [attending] the summit to work to end all forms of siege on the Gaza Strip," Hamas said in a Saturday statement.
Washington has limited its help to providing logistical and intelligence support.
Resolution calls on Assad government, Daesh and foreign fighters to halt bloodshed.
Russian finance minister says deal with Kiev 'not done on a commercial basis because of the risks it carries'.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the funds would be sent for humanitarian reasons and "Israel's interests", without saying whether the transfer would be repeated.
Sierra Leone, the country worst-affected by the disease, has reported nearly 12,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths since the epidemic was declared a year ago.
"The Israeli occupation has agreed to extend a direct natural gas pipeline to operate Gaza's power plant," Haniyeh said in a Friday sermon delivered at a Gaza mosque.
Saad asserted that the army had sent reinforcements and was planning to send more troops to the restive area to secure the elections
An East Africa regional bloc on Friday signed two agreements with international partners to provide support for "drought resilience" activities.