NATO countries worried about the escalation of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine
The US Secretary of Defense, in a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, condemned Russia’s provocative actions in eastern Ukraine, and a NATO spokesman said that the bloc is concerned about the “build-up of Russian military forces” near the Ukrainian border. This was announced on Thursday by Reuters.
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin spoke Thursday with his Ukrainian counterpart Andrey Taran and “condemned the recent escalation of Russia’s aggressive and provocative actions in eastern Ukraine.”
“I reaffirmed our continued support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” Austin tweeted.
NATO on Thursday also expressed concern about the “build-up of Russian military power” near the border with Ukraine. This came up during today’s meeting of the permanent representatives of the NATO member states, who discussed the recent surge in violence in Donbas, where Ukrainian troops are confronting Russian-backed separatists.
A NATO spokesman told Reuters that Moscow is undermining peace efforts in eastern Ukraine.
“Allies share concerns about Russia’s recent large-scale military activity in and around Ukraine. Allies are also concerned that Russia violated the ceasefire agreement concluded in July 2020, which resulted in the deaths of four Ukrainian soldiers last week, ”a NATO spokesman said.
Ukraine, Western countries, and NATO accuse Russia of sending troops and heavy weapons to support the separatists who seized territories in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Russia claims that it provides the separatists exclusively with political and humanitarian support during the “internal conflict”, as Moscow describes the events in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian military intelligence accused Russia of provocative actions in order to create a pretext for sending additional Russian military units to Donbas.
“An attempt is not ruled out to move the Russian occupation forces deep into Ukraine,” the Ukrainian intelligence said in a statement.