Russia must withdraw the troops it has gathered on the border with Ukraine and Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
This is what NATO CEO Jens Stoltenberg said in the run-up to the talks that NATO ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs are holding on to the escalating situation in and around eastern Ukraine. Ukraine said yesterday that Russia had gathered 40,000 troops on its eastern border and another 40,000 in Crimea.
NATO is deeply concerned about the escalating situation in the region. According to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, there have never been so many Russian soldiers at the Ukrainian border since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
“Russia must immediately end this military build-up in and around Ukraine, stop its provocations and de-escalate,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
He spoke there with Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister. Ukraine announced yesterday that Russia had gathered 40,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and another 40,000 in Crimea.
Tension in and around Eastern Ukraine has flared up again in recent weeks. War has been raging in the area between the Ukrainian government army and pro-Russian rebels for seven years. They do not recognize the authority of the pro-Western government in Kyiv and have proclaimed their own mini-states.
The conflict has been on the back burner for a long time, but there have been heavier fighting and more deaths in recent months.