US cancels military drills with Russia

US President Barack Obama (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin

The United States has called off a military exercise with Russia over Moscow’s “intervention” in Ukraine, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The annual Air Force exercise near Alaska involves the US, Canada, and Russia.

NORAD spokesman Sgt. Charles Marsh said that the decision had been taken by the Department of Defense officials and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper “due to the situation in Ukraine.”

He added that the “Vigilant Eagle” exercise was to have included the Japan Self Defense Force for the first time.

NORAD and the Russian Federation Air Force had cooperated on the maneuvers since 2007.

Tensions have been rising between Washington and Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine.

In the latest measure, the Obama administration has imposed a new round of sanctions against the Kremlin.

The new sanctions, announced by the US Treasury Department on Friday, include restricting exports of American goods, services and technology to Russia’s largest oil companies.

The sanctions also affect six Russian banks by barring American individuals and companies from dealing in any debt they issue of longer than 30 days maturity.

On Thursday, Obama announced plans to ratchet up sanctions against Russia over what he called “direct military intervention” in Ukraine.

The new US sanctions coincide with sanctions from the European Union against several Russian politicians and state-owned firms.

Moscow has long denied any involvement in Ukraine’s crisis and has warned of a strong response if more sanctions are implemented.

By Press TV


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