Ukraine Airport Taken Over by Pro-Russian Rebels

Moscow denies reports that Russian soldiers assisted the separatists in the siege.
11:29 | 09/02/14

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Transcript for Ukraine Airport Taken Over by Pro-Russian Rebels
-- -- Pro Russian rebels in Ukraine reloading their weapons and supplies to -- Ukrainian government forces. In -- yes yes tensions between Russia and NATO are now extremely high right now international hot -- Rain look what I'm death. Separatist forces in Ukraine are driving up Ukrainian army from the -- on -- airport. -- is the siege also involved Russian soldiers a claim that Moscow though is denying. And now Russia is accusing -- -- increasing tension in the region by boosting its military presence. In Eastern Europe. -- BBC's nick Childs has more on the crisis in Ukraine. Pro Russian rebels in control here in in a base in eastern Ukraine having pushed government forces back in the latest fighting. But as the fight is recount their successes. Kiev in the west insists it's increased direct Russian military involvement that shifted the balance of power. In a conflict that's reshaping the security landscape of Europe. In parliament in Kiev nationalist display that defiance in the face of what they say is Russian aggression. But the Ukrainian authorities are clearly unsettled by their recent setbacks. On his FaceBook page Ukraine's defense minister said a great war has arrived on our doorstep the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War II. But Moscow which denies direct involvement in Ukraine blames Kiev in the west for stoking tensions denouncing Kiev suggestion -- trying to join NATO. Sports in Europe -- -- -- -- says the party peace was triangle and is still trying. To -- a negotiated political settlement of all the fundamental questions ukrainians faced. And in Kiev the party of war is taking steps clearly aimed at undermining these assets -- All this says in Wales they getting ready to host a crucial NATO summit in two days. The alliance has beefed up its air patrols in the -- in response to the crisis. The summit total amounts more exercises and a new rapid reaction force to reassure its eastern members further. It -- dismissed the latest from Moscow that Russia will have to rethink its military doctrine because of these -- From NATO's perspective the reverse is the case. And as the European Union considers tougher sanctions on Moscow the message from its new foreign policy chief. That rusher is no longer a strategic partner. The fallout from the recent fighting in Ukraine's -- beast continues to lay waste to the post Cold War assumptions about security and stability in Europe -- Childs BBC news. We are now joined by. You have Spezza time eastern Ukraine covering this story with the rebels movement's first started and take us back to the beginning what is -- that eastern Ukraine wants. Well what happened in eastern Ukraine is a reaction. To what happened in the capital of Ukraine Kiev and there was a revolution in Kiev earlier this year in February they overthrew the elected president. Viktor Yanukovych. And day took over the parliament drove him out and they declared their intention. To move towards Europe towards integration with the European economy European culture even European defense systems. Well that in -- rage the people out in eastern Ukraine because they had won the presidential election they were Yanukovych -- main base of support. Fair and square and they saw what was happening and you have as a cool. Not a revolution in a coup by right wingers and their view. Ultra Nationalists in their view some fascists in their very and to be fair there were very hard right wing. Even -- -- fascist members of the new government and so they were alarmed by what happened in Kiev and they rose up to resist it. That's when Russia came in. Because many of those people in eastern Ukraine are ethnic Russians they're very close to Russia and Russia under Putin has now taken their side. And perhaps more do they want to be their own state -- they want to be part of Russia. You know that's an excellent question I think the answer -- that is changing every day Dan I think early on those of us who went to eastern Ukraine and talk to the people not. The politicians but the people we got a sense that their concern about this revolution in Kiev. But they did not want to be independent they did not want to become part of Russia. They simply wanted to make sure that their part of the country was treated fairly. That they were safe from any of though ultra right wingers that they saw taking power in -- have. But they did not necessarily want to become part of Russia that equation. May have changed the Ukrainian military has fought a brutal campaign to take back rebel held territory out there and it seems that the divisions. Have deepened between eastern and western Ukraine you've got basically civil war now with Russia invading and taking one side -- The rebels having the Russian back in there and Ukraine obviously trying to fight. Does that necessarily it was that the catalyst -- for causing NATO to increase its military presence in Ukraine. Yes absolutely that -- Specter of Russian. Involvement of the Russian military crossing. European borders Ukraine is part of Europe essentially and of Vladimir potent try to redraw the boundaries of a European country is alarming. Two major European powers and minor ones to and the reason is as you see -- there. People wonder is he trying to recreate the Soviet Union while he was certainly a KGB officer and head of the KGB's successor agency. In Russia. But Russia goes back before the Soviet Union. And over the centuries has occasionally torn off. Parts of Eastern Europe to rule from Moscow. The polls. The people in the Baltic States people in Bulgaria and remaining they have a long memory of Russian. Expansion into Eastern Europe that is what European leaders are concerned about -- there's a new Cold War but a new conflict with Russia. Which it. Taken place in the past over many centuries. What about the same and they came out from Russia's president today a lot of newspapers reporting that president Vladimir Putin said in a private meeting that quote if I want I'll take Kiev in two weeks. Very strong language what do you make -- -- his role in this saga. You know Dan Putin's role has been somewhat. Obscured. He's a master Machiavellian. A master tactician. He can talk peace he can go to peace talks. He can withdraw a little bit. But now with that comment you just referred to be told one of the European leaders I can take you have been two weeks according to people who were in the room. And with his other moves and declarations. His strategic personality is coming out and that is as a Russian expansionist. He does not want the west on his borders on the borders of Russia he wants places where there are ethnic Russians which include Ukraine. Latvia Estonia in the Baltic States cossacks -- on off to the south. He wants those Russians essentially to be brought back into Moscow's sphere of influence. And he is a great Russia. Theorist he believes that Russia not only should have its own -- But has its own civilization he says that it is an alternative Moscow on Russia's. Greatness to what he sees is that decadence of the west and the excessive free market power of Europe. This is a major challenge to the post Cold War order what he's done is built a modern Russia that isn't going to be a western Russia. And now with that statement out their President Obama is heading to Estonia this afternoon and then on to Wales. For that NATO summit in what can't NATO do to curb. Russia's influence in that region. Yeah that's a 64000. Dollar question Dan is -- potent is calling NATO's bluff. NATO expanded in did these eastern European countries in the 1990s and early two thousands. At a time when no one could imagine a threat from Russia it just seemed that -- people were joining the club. One how important is essentially saying I'm expanding into Ukraine which is not a NATO and -- NATO member but essentially threatening other. NATO members and he's saying what are you going to do about it. Well what NATO can do is. Beef up its security commitment make clear draw a red line one that counts. Four -- make clear that any infringement on NATO territory which would be the baltics Poland Romania Bulgaria. That that would be a cost for a military response and we'd have another European war no one thinks Putin wants that. But no one thought -- was going to do this is very dangerous time right now in -- Ukraine wants to join NATO but what is the likelihood -- that actually. Pretty minimal I was covering the White House when George W bush. Proposed that both Ukraine and Georgia the other state on Russia's southern flank there. Become part of NATO. Most of the Europeans didn't want it first they aren't really ready NATO members have to have a certain level of transparency. Corruption free militaries -- and all the rest and many people in Europe don't think Ukraine is ready for that. The other thing is that Europeans thought it would be too provocative to Russia. It would be too much for Russia to take for Ukraine to join an alliance that was built to oppose Russia. So it's not likely however. There's no question that that Ukraine once it and wants to get as close is -- candy Europe now. In order to protect it from what is clearly Putin's plan for Russian power in Ukraine and elsewhere. But back on the focus lastly on rush show what is the end game there is -- simply a matter that Russia wants -- a land connection. To the newly acquired Crimea or is there something else. That could very well be possible since Crimea which Russia has now. Taken is isolated. But I think it's it's even bigger it's this sense that Russia wants to be. Great alternative in the world to the power of the United States and the west again. And that it wants essentially to created a different way. Of being prosperous and modern and 21 century. Without having to follow in the -- footsteps the risk kids this is a great with great gamble the food is taking. Is he'll turn Russia into a pariah state. That businesses won't want to do business there that the west will sanction it into recession. And that essentially there will be. A very dark future for the young people in the 21 century in Putin's Russia. ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran joining us Terry thank -- -- -- always appreciate that. Of course you give over the story in real time by downloading the ABC news -- -- -- store for exclusive updates -- ago. You've been watching international hot spot and Dan -- any more.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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