President Barack Obama on Wednesday harshly condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine as a threat to peace in Europe and pledged that NATO will protect allies who fear they will be Moscow's next target. Standing on Russia's doorstep, Obama declared "this is a moment of
testing" for the Western alliance to stand up to the Kremlin.
At the same time, the Pentagon announced that 200 US soldiers would participate in an exercise in western Ukraine starting next week. Though largely a symbolic move, distant from the conflict with Russian-backed separatists, it would mark the first presence of American ground troops in Ukraine since the crisis began.