NATO CEO Demands Withdrawal of Russian Troops from Ukraine
Russia must withdraw the troops it sent to Ukraine and the border with the east of that neighbouring country. This is what NATO CEO Jens Stoltenberg said today, before a meeting that NATO ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs will hold tomorrow.
The Secretary-General is demanding that Moscow stop its “provocations” and immediately de-escalate. The G7 countries had already issued a similar call yesterday.
Stoltenberg spoke of the most significant military build-up since Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimea peninsula in 2014. According to Ukraine, 80,000 soldiers have gathered in Crimea and on the border with eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have declared their own republics.
The NATO boss made his statements at a press conference at Brussels’ headquarters with Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister. He said his country is looking for a diplomatic solution. He also called for more sanctions against Russia and asked for military assistance to stem Russian “aggression”.
Ukraine would like to join the western military alliance. It is NATO that decides on this, said Stoltenberg. He noted that Russia is trying to recreate a sphere of influence in order to control what its neighbours do.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shojgoe said in a response that he was taking measures against what he called threatening actions by NATO.
The preparedness of the armed forces is being monitored, and more military exercises are to be carried out. Shojgoe stated that NATO plans to direct tens of thousands of soldiers towards Russia.