World US and NATO meet to discuss 'Russia’s recent large-scale military activities' near Ukraine
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The United States and European allies are “discussing concerns” about Russia’s reported military buildup on the border of Ukraine, a senior State Department official said in a warning to Moscow.
“We're absolutely concerned by recent escalations of Russian aggressive and provocative actions in eastern Ukraine, including violations of the July 2020 ceasefire,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Thursday. “Additionally, we are aware of Ukrainian military reports concerning Russian troop movements on Ukraine's borders. We are discussing our concerns about that increase in tensions and ceasefire violations and regional tensions with NATO allies.”
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"Russia will continue to firmly advocate strict respect for universal international legal norms, such as the principle of not interfering with the internal affairs of sovereign states," Moscow's embassy in Serbia said to mark 22 years ago since the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia"Such evil, as NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia, must never be repeated," Moscow's embassy in Belgrade, then the Yugoslav capital and today the capital of Serbia, said in a statement Wednesday in reference to the 1999 NATO attack on the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Price blamed Russia for the deaths of four Ukrainian soldiers last week, whereas Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov raised the specter of "new war” in eastern Ukraine due to ceasefire violations that Moscow attributes to Ukrainian forces. Russian officials deny invading Ukraine, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s previous admission that he had ordered such an operation, and maintain that Ukrainian officials need not fear the movement of Russian troops to the Ukrainian border.
“The Russian Federation transfers the Armed Forces on its soil as it wants to,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskovreporters, per state media. "This should not concern anyone and this is not posing any threat to anrgyone.”
NATO Fast Facts
See CNN's NATO Fast Facts for a look at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. © JONATHAN ERNST/AFP/AFP/Getty Images NATO foreign ministers gather for the session to formally admit Montenegro during ministerial meetings at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels on December 2, 2015. JONATHAN ERNST/AFP/Getty Images FactsThe organization's charter states that the signing parties will "seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area," and will "unite their efforts for collective defense and for the preservation of peace and security.
The buildup spurred a meeting of diplomats from across the NATO alliance. "Allies shared their concerns about Russia’s recent large-scale military activities in and around Ukraine," a NATO officialReuters. “Russia’s destabilizing actions undermine efforts to deescalate tensions,”
Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a conflict since 2014, when unmarked Russian forces rolled over the border into Crimea as Putin and other Russian officials denied their involvement. That claim was an apparent effort to induce Ukraine’s U.S. and European partners from responding efficiently, but Putin admitted to the ruse during a 2015 documentary on the operation.
“I gave orders to the Defense Ministry —why hide it? — to deploy special forces of the GRU [military intelligence], as well as marines and commandos there under the guise of reinforcing security for our military facilities in Crimea,” Putin.
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Peskov reverted Thursday to the previous posture of denying military involvement in Ukraine.
"As for the participation of Russian troops in the armed conflict on Ukraine’s soil, the Russian troops have never taken part in it and are not participating now,” Peskov said. "And we, the European countries and all world states, would not like the civil war in Ukraine as a result of provocations and provocative steps by Ukraine’s military to flare up again.”
Russian forces are amassing on the border on a scale that Ukrainian officials suggest could portend a major assault. “Moscow must stop fueling the military frenzy and immediately and explicitly confirm its commitment to a diplomatic settlement and ceasefire,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro KulebaThursday.
Lavrov struck an ominous note while denying any Russian responsibility for tensions. “Any attempts to start a new military conflict in Ukraine’s war-torn east could end up destroying Ukraine,” Lavrov said Thursday,the Kyiv Post.
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Price avoided making explicit criticism of Russia’s reported troop buildup within Russian borders but signaled Washington’s displeasure. “What we would object to are aggressive actions — actions that have an intent of intimidating, of threatening, our partner in Ukraine,” he said.
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Ukraine calls for path into NATO after Russia masses troops .
Ukraine calls for path into NATO after Russia masses troopsKYIV (Reuters) - President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on NATO on Tuesday to lay out a path for Ukraine to join the Western military alliance, after days in which Russia has massed troops near the conflict-hit Donbass region.