U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Wednesday that the West's deterrence is "on the horizon" to respond to Russia's recent confrontation with Ukraine and its military moves in Venezuela.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, at United Nations headquarters. [Photo: AP/Mary Altaffer]
Pompeo told Fox & Friends in an interview in New York that "sometimes the last act doesn't appear to be the last act, and deterrence is just on the horizon."
"We have pushed back against Russia in serious ways," he noted. "We've provided defensive weapon systems for the Ukrainians to defend their own country. We have sanctioned more Russians than any administration in recent history. This administration has been very serious."
Noting that the United States has obviously seen the incidents in the Kerch Strait, the top U.S. diplomat said that Washington has been working with European partners "to make sure they understand the importance of protecting that waterway and pushing back against the Russians in a way that actually leads to deterrence from this kind of aggression from Vladimir Putin."
On Nov. 25, Russia seized three Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait, saying the Ukrainian ships breached the Russian border. The Ukraine side called Russia's move an "act of aggression" and imposed a martial law in certain regions of the country for 30 days starting on Nov. 28.
In a separate move, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that Russian and Venezuelan military pilots had conducted training sessions to perform joint flights at a Venezuelan airfield.
The training came after two Tu-160 strategic missile-carriers, a heavy An-124 military transport aircraft and an IL-62 long-range aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces landed in Venezuela on Tuesday after covering a distance of more than 10,000 km.
In his tweet posted on Tuesday, Pompeo characterized the landing as "two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer."
The Kremlin responded later on the same day, calling Pompeo's remarks "undiplomatic and inappropriate."
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