BRUSSELS (AP) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has voiced “unwavering” support for the Western military alliance in Ukraine, warning Moscow on Tuesday not to boost its troop presence on the border with Russia.
“NATO stands by Ukraine,” Stoltenberg told a news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, calling Russia’s actions “unjustified, incomprehensible and deeply troubling.”
The comments came amid a ceasefire violation in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces have been embroiled in a stalemate since 2014. More than 14,000 people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine since Moscow seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, and attempts at a political settlement have stalled.
Stoltenberg called the deployment of the last troops in Moscow the largest military build-up since the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“Russia has moved thousands of troops to the border with Ukraine, which is the largest number of Russian troops since the illegal seizure of troops in 2014. “Several Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in eastern Ukraine in recent days,” he said.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister seemed to be contemptuous of Moscow, saying that Ukraine and its foreign partners were better prepared than seven years ago.
“If Moscow takes any unwise step or launches a new spiral of violence, it will be costly in every sense,” Kuleba said.
He said a special NATO meeting on Ukraine on Tuesday would ensure that the alliance did not remain unaware.
“By gathering today, we are trying to avoid the mistake that was made in 2014, when Russia was ready to act quickly to pursue its military goals,” Kuleba said. “Gathering today, we are trying to avoid the mistake we made in 2014, when Russia was ready to act quickly to pursue its military goals.”
Ukraine says Russia has deployed 41,000 troops on its border with eastern Ukraine and more than 42,000 in Crimea. The numbers are likely to rise as troops continue to arrive.
The Kremlin insists that Russia is free to deploy its troops wherever it wants, has repeatedly accused the Ukrainian military of “provocative actions” on the line of control, and of intending to forcibly resume rebel control.
Kremlin officials have accused Ki’s actions of threatening Russia’s security, warning that Russia could intervene to protect the Russian-speaking east.
At the heart of Tuesday’s meeting was Ukraine’s desire to join NATO over Moscow’s heated objections.
Stoltenberg insists that the 30 members of the bloc must decide who can join the group. “And no one has the right to try to interfere or interfere in the process. “Every nation like Ukraine has the sovereign right to apply for membership.”
“This is a good principle, because Russia is now trying to regain some sphere of influence, where they are trying to decide what the neighbors can do. “And this is a world we are really trying to leave,” he said.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken plans to join Stoltenberg on Wednesday to assess, among other things, the deployment of Russian troops.
“Russia must stop these military accumulations in and around Ukraine, stop its provocations and immediately de-escalate,” Stoltenberg said.