Russian Defense Minister Tells Hagel Russia Will Not Invade Ukraine
The Pentagon says Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu has assured Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Russian forces will not invade Ukraine.
The two spoke by telephone Monday, with Hagel wanting clarification on Russia's intentions.
A Pentagon spokesman said Hagel emphasized how dangerous the situation is, and that Ukraine has the right to preserve law and order inside its borders. He reminded Shoygu that Russia faces more isolation if its aggression continues.
Hagel also asked for Russian help in freeing seven European inspectors held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Meanwhile, officials in Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, say Mayor Hennady Kernes is fighting for his life after being shot in the back by a sniper. Kernes was hit while riding his bicycle on the outskirts of the city.
As Obama Leaves Asia, One Last Swipe at China
U.S. President Barack Obama took another implicit swipe at China's foreign policy Tuesday as he wrapped up a week-long, four-nation tour of Asia.
Speaking to U.S. and Philippine troops before departing Manila, President Obama repeated his administration's long-held stances on China's maritime disputes.
Obama said：" We believe that international law must be held, that freedom of navigation must be preserved, and commerce must not be impeded. We believe that disputes must be resolved peacefully and not by intimidation or force."
The comments, which did not mention China by name, come a day after Washington and Manila signed a new defense deal to expand the U.S. military presence in the Pacific nation.
Mr. Obama stressed that the U.S. commitment to defend the Philippines is "iron-clad." He cited a 1951 treaty in which both nations agreed to protect one another if attacked.