Politics With eyes on Russia, senators seek to prevent any U.S. president from leaving NATO
Ukraine calls for path into NATO after Russia masses troops
Ukraine calls for path into NATO after Russia masses troopsKYIV (Reuters) - President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on NATO on Tuesday to lay out a path for Ukraine to join the Western military alliance, after days in which Russia has massed troops near the conflict-hit Donbass region.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fifteen Democratic and Republican U.S. senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would bar any U.S. president from withdrawing from the NATO military alliance without Senate approval.
The bill, seen by Reuters, is a new version of a similar measure that passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in December 2019, but was never considered by the full Senate, then controlled by Republicans.
If a president attempts to leave NATO without Senate approval, the bill would prohibit funding for such a move and authorizes the Congressional Legal Counsel to challenge the administration in court.
Pentagon chief on inaugural tour of Europe to shore up ties
BERLIN (AP) — Nearly a year after President Donald Trump ordered thousands of troops to leave Germany, capping a series of setbacks for U.S. relations with major allies, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday began an inaugural tour of Europe to shore up partnerships that are a cornerstone of the post-World War II order. Austin arrived in Berlin against the backdrop of a newly emerging crisis with Iran, which on Monday blamed Israel for a recent attack on its underground Natanz nuclear facility. Israel has not confirmed or denied involvement, but the attack nonetheless imperils ongoing talks in Europe over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal.
"This bill expresses clear congressional support for the continuing value of NATO and clarifies that no President acting alone can sever the bonds of the alliance," Senator Tim Kaine, one of the measure's lead sponsors, said in a statement.
Former Republican President Donald Trump was a critic of NATO, criticizing allies for failing to pay their fair share, calling it outdated and once suggesting that Washington could withdraw.
NATO has been in the spotlight this month as Russia has built up troops near Ukraine and Crimea, the peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014. NATO foreign and defense ministers held emergency discussions this week on the massing of Russian troops.
"With Moscow’s growing subversive aggressions, we must ensure no U.S. President withdraws from NATO without the advice and consent of the Senate," Republican Senator Marco Rubio, the bill's other lead sponsor, said in a statement.
Kaine and Rubio both sit on the foreign relations committee.
The bill's other sponsors include three Republicans, nine Democrats and one independent, Senator Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats.
The bill's sponsors are optimistic about its chances of passing and becoming law, given President Joe Biden's recent expressions of strong support for the alliance. Biden's fellow Democrats narrowly control both the Senate and House of Representatives.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Dan Grebler)
Ukraine Foreign Minister Asks Nations to Pressure NATO For Help as Russian Troops Build up at Border .
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on officials from the Baltic nations to pressure NATO and the European Union for assistance as a result a Russian troop buildup near its border.Kuleba's request for Western support came after he spoke with visiting officials from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. He said he believes "words of support aren't enough.