NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Russia has now concentrated more troops at the border with Ukraine and in the occupied territories than it was initially during the recent escalation, forcing the Alliance to closely monitor the situation.
He said this on Thursday in Brussels before participating in a meeting of the defense ministers of the EU member states, which will be held in Brussels under the chairmanship of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.
"We have seen some reduction in the number of Russian troops, but tens of thousands remain, and we are also seeing that Russia has kept a lot of weapons […] and equipment, and they're also imposing restrictions in the Black Sea, including restricting access to the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait, and therefore NATO needs to stay vigilant and closely monitor the developments. Overall, there is a significant Russian presence, and there are many more Russian troops now, in and around Ukraine, than before the recent increase in tensions," Stoltenberg said.
The Alliance Secretary General noted that the pattern of "aggressive Russian behaviour, from dangerous intelligence operations in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, but also the significant military build-up in and around Ukraine" will be the subject of discussion at this meeting.