Moscow must stop backing pro-Russians in Ukraine: NATO
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called on Moscow to stop “supporting” pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine.
On Thursday, Stoltenberg accused Russia of “continuing” to provide support for pro-Russia forces in Ukraine, saying Moscow “had a large number of forces stationed on its border with Ukraine.”
Stoltenberg made the remarks at the opening of the NATO-Ukraine Council in Brussels, which was set up to coordinate ties between NATO and non-member Ukraine following the end of the Cold War.
“The best chance for peace is the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. I urge all parties to do so and Russia has a special responsibility in this regard,” Stoltenberg said in reference to a deal signed in the Belarusian capital earlier this year between the parties to the Ukrainian conflict.
He also warned of the risk “of a return to heavy fighting” in eastern Ukraine, namely the Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The areas have been witnessing violence since Ukraine launched military operations against pro-Russia protests last April.
The United Nations says the unrest in east Ukraine has led to the death of 6,500 people and injury of some 16,000 others since mid-April last year. It also says some 1.5 million people were also displaced as a result.