NATOSource

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/49382/photos
American officials briefed on intelligence from the region say Russia has significantly deepened its command and control of the militants in eastern Ukraine in recent months, leading the U.S. to quietly introduce a new term: "combined Russian-separatist forces."

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After Russia grabbed a piece of the Black Sea coast from Ukraine and ramped up its marine and air force exercises on and over the Baltic, the other eight countries with a piece of that sea's shoreline have realized that this backwater isn't as placid as it was.

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The Chinese Navy will hold joint exercises with Russia in the Mediterranean in May, China's Defense Ministry said Thursday, a further indication of the closer ties between the two countries and of the navy's increasing ambitions.

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Compared to just one year ago, Europe faces a very different, and much more challenging security environment.one with significant, lasting implications for U.S. national security interests.

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From NBC News:  France will increase its defense budget by 3.8 billion euros ($4.2 billion) over four years from 2016 to ensure the army can tackle problems at home and maintain missions abroad, notably in Africa and the Middle East, President Francois Hollande said.

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Russia's top general warned European countries planning to host installations for a U.S.-led missile-defense shield that Russian forces would be forced to target them.

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Its military reach has diminished. It has played little role in confronting Russia over Ukraine and strictly limited its response to crises in the Middle East and Africa.

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Finland has fired warning shots at a suspected foreign submarine off the coast of Helsinki in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

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[T]he turmoil sweeping the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean today threatens to transform Europe's strategic outlook on security matters.

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Italy's new defense white paper, its first in 13 years and which calls for Italian military leadership in the Mediterranean, has made a timely debut just as European leaders debate how to combat trafficking in the region.

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