NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called on Russia to withdraw its forces from eastern Ukraine
“The Russian Federation must withdraw its troops and military equipment from the territory of Ukraine and stop providing support to pro-Kremlin separatist fighting against Kiev,” Stoltenberg said after a meeting of the Defense Ministers of NATO countries in Brussels.
According to Stoltenberg the Alliance, under the leadership of the United States, will continue to support Kiev’s positions and will never recognize the “illegal annexation of the Crimea”.
“In response to Russia’s actions, NATO will increase its assistance to Ukraine. The level of our political and practical cooperation with Ukraine since 2014 is unprecedented,” the Secretary General noted.
“Moscow has continued to support the separatists by supplying military equipment and personnel and amassing its troops along the Ukrainian borders to intimidate Kiev and to increase its military presence in the Crimea where they [Russians] have a key Black Sea military base,” he said.
He called on Russia to adhere to the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine stipulated by the Minsk agreements which continue to be violated by Russia “again and again”.
“To counteract this new threat NATO will increase its military resources and positions. This will ensure a more effective response in case of repeat cases of aggression from Russia," Stoltenberg added.
The NATO Defense Ministers had previously approved the deployment of three battalions to the Baltic States and Poland.