NATO has called on Russia to immediately de-escalate tensions on its borders with Ukraine and to immediately end its military build-up, which is unjustified, unexplained and deeply concerning.
As reported by Censor.NET.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this at a briefing in Brussels on Tuesday, April 13, following an extraordinary meeting of the North Atlantic Council, which was convened at Ukraine's initiative.
"In recent weeks, Russia has moved thousands of combat-ready troops to Ukraine's borders. The largest massing of Russian troops since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. […] Russia's considerable military build-up is unjustified, unexplained, and deeply concerning. Russia must end this military build-up in and around Ukraine, stop its provocations, and de-escalate immediately," Stoltenberg said.
"We regret Russia's decision not to participate in the recent meeting at the OSCE to dispel concerns about its unusual military activities. Russia must respect its international commitments," he added.
Stoltenberg noted that several Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in eastern Ukraine over the last days and expressed his condolences for the recent losses suffered by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
He recalled that NATO's support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering. The Allies do not, and will not recognize Russia's illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea. NATO continues to call on Russia to end its support for the militants in eastern Ukraine and withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory.
"NATO stands with Ukraine. Allies continue to provide significant practical support so that Ukraine can better provide for its own security. Ukraine's new status as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner demonstrates how both sides benefit from our long-standing partnership," Stoltenberg said.
According to him, such cooperation helps Ukraine to develop its own defense capabilities, in particular, through the training of military units and participation in joint exercises with NATO. NATO has stepped up its cooperation in the Black Sea region with more exercises and port visits, he said.
"We support Ukraine's wide-ranging reform agenda, which will make Ukraine more resilient, and help advance Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Allies stand by the decisions taken at the Bucharest summit. Reforms will bring Ukraine closer to NATO. We want to see Ukraine succeed. We are committed to helping you to do so," Stoltenberg said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is on a working visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels on April 13. He took part in an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission initiated by Ukraine under Article 15 of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between Ukraine and NATO to implement the April 6 agreement between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Russia's military build-up along borders with Ukraine will be discussed at the meeting.