Diplomacy with Iran must be backed up by US military might, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said Saturday in a speech to Gulf allies anxious over a nuclear deal with Tehran. Hagel promised the United States would maintain a 35,000-strong force in the Gulf region, as well as an armada of ships and warplanes, despite the recent accord with Tehran. Speaking at a security conference in Bahrain, he said the interim deal with Iran to roll back its nuclear programme was a risk worth taking, but that Western diplomacy should not be "misinterpreted". The Pentagon "will not make any adjustments to its forces in the region -- or to its military planning -- as a result of the interim agreement with Iran," he added.
By Natalia Zinets KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's opposition accused President Viktor Yanukovich on Saturday of betraying national interests at unannounced talks with Russia's Vladimir Putin, though both countries said nothing had been agreed. Both governments denied reports they had agreed a deal on cheaper Russian gas and for Ukraine to join a Moscow-led customs union after Yanukovich last month spurned a trade pact with the European Union. But the surprise meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday - and speculation that a deal had been struck - risks fuelling public anger in Ukraine, where thousands of protesters are occupying parts of the capital Kiev in a dangerous stand-off with security forces. It is not in the interests of the fate of the country," Arseny Yatsenyuk, one of three main leaders of the opposition protests, told crowds gathered on Independence Square under driving snow.