According to AFP, US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia early Wednesday (September 3) to meet NATO, US and EU leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the national security of former Soviet NATO members, as Russia declared NATO a major "threat."
It also comes ahead of a NATO summit in Wales on Thursday and Friday (September 4-5) at which beleaguered Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will lobby Obama for military backing.
Moscow's surprise declaration came after the Western military alliance announced plans to reinforce defense in Eastern Europe because of the Kremlin's perceived stoking of war in Ukraine and discouraging regional action because it has nuclear resources.
President Obama will reportedly deliver a message of firm NATO support for its newest members from Russia on Wednesday (September 3) when he visits the Baltic state of Estonia, where he will also meet the leaders of Latvia and Lithuania.
As the President boarded Air Force One in Washington, the White House said Obama will put Russia on notice that it must not attempt the kind of intimidation and infiltration of NATO's former Soviet members that it has carried out in Ukraine, a non-NATO member.
"NATO has played a leading role and produced ample evidence to indicate that Russia has intervened in ways that grossly violate the territorial integrity of the independent nation of Ukraine," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
"It's not OK for large countries to flagrantly violate the territorial integrity of their smaller neighbors," Earnest emphasized.
COMMENT: Despite public statements in support of the Ukraine, it appears that the Obama Administration is determined to not provide the Ukrainian government any assistance other than MREs.
The one fact that most news agencies fail to include in their reporting is this:
"International organizations, other than the IMF, seemingly ignore what is morally and ethically correct when one rogue nation [i.e. Russia] attempts to invade a sovereign foreign government [Ukraine]."
Politicians conveniently invent reasons why a non-NATO country cannot be assisted militarily, even when confronted by a rogue nation [Russia].
Ukraine on Tuesday (September 2) reported the fatal losses of 15 more soldiers in the latest day of clashes with Russian-backed insurgents and the deployment of Russian troops inside of the Ukraine whose ongoing offensive threatens to stamp Moscow's permanent hold on the eastern half of the Ukraine.
The United Nations' refugee agency said on Tuesday that the fighting has rendered 500,000 homeless in addition to claiming an estimated 2,600 lives.
Ukrainian President Poroshenko appeal for European military assistance in the face of Russia's alleged dispatch of crack troops into the conflict zone was summarily dismissed at a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels last weekend.
Yet the plan would be of no immediate help to Ukraine's government because the country is not a member of NATO--a point President Obama emphasized in his rejection of US military involvement on behalf of the Ukraine.
Poroshenko convened his national security and defense council late on Monday (September 1) to discuss mounting setbacks in the mostly Russian-speaking regions.
"The situation is difficult, but the Ukrainian fighting spirit is stronger than that of the invaders," Poroshenko said in reference to more than 1,000 Russian soldiers that NATO believes the Kremlin has sent across the Ukrainian border of late.
Moscow on Monday again denied either sending or planning to deploy troops into eastern Ukraine, although NATO satellite photos say otherwise.
Moscow dismiss allegations that Russian intervention is being used to carve a land corridor from Russia to the Crimean peninsula--another Ukrainian region which Russia took over in March 2014.
Separatist commanders have characterized Russian soldiers in their ranks as having come while off-duty or on vacation, which is nothing more than a Moscow lie.
That admission prompted Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to declare that Kiev would abandon its non-aligned status and seek NATO membership in the coming years--a development Russia would intensely oppose.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon responded to the Cold War-style rhetoric by cautioning "there is no military solution" and calling for "political dialogue."
An inconclusive round of European-mediated talks between Kiev and Moscow envoys and a few separatist leaders concluded in the Belarussian capital Minsk with only a tentative agreement to meet again on Friday.
Putin on Sunday hardened Russia's previous position of demanding only talks on autonomy for the region by noting that Kiev would have to discuss "statehood" for the two rebel eastern districts.
Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov also confirmed that Putin had recently told European Commission chief José Manuel Barroso in private of Russia's ability to capture Kiev in two weeks if it wished to do so.
The economic cost of the conflict was emphasised on Tuesday when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) vowed to stand by Ukraine, despite the country's economy being crippled so badly that a current $17-billion (13-billion-euro) rescue package might prove to be too small.