Russia must immediately stop building troops at the border with Ukraine and withdraw from Eastern Ukraine. NATO Chief Stoltenberg made this appeal after a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Koleba. The NATO chief speaks of the largest Russian military presence at the border since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
According to Ukraine, the Kremlin is trying to escalate the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, including through harassment through border troops and the deployment of propaganda through Russian channels in the country. Koleba calls on the West to introduce more sanctions against Russia and to provide military aid.
The country is keen to become a member of NATO, but according to the United States, it is not yet ready for this because Kiev has to carry out a number of important reforms. Territorial stability is also generally a prerequisite for membership of the military alliance.
According to NATO Chief Stoltenberg, Russia is trying to disrupt the accession process by stirring up the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. “It is up to the thirty NATO Member States to decide on Ukraines accession, and no one else,” said the Norwegian concerned. Tomorrow the situation in Ukraine will be discussed at a NATO digital conference, reports news agency Reuters on the basis of diplomatic sources.
American presence in Europe
Earlier today, Moscow called on the US to stay on its way out of the region, because Ukraines military presence will make a dangerous “powder keg”. At the moment, the Americans are present in the Black Sea with some warships.
In addition, during a visit to Germany this morning, the US Secretary of Defence Austin announced that the withdrawal of US military personnel from Germany, deployed under former President Trump. The Pentagon will just transfer 500 additional troops to the base in Germany.
Austin is also visiting NATO headquarters in Brussels and the United Kingdom this week. It is not known whether he will meet the Ukrainian Foreign Minister as well.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov warns the US “for their own good” not to come near Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014. According to Ryabkov, the US is testing the Russian reaction by “getting on our nerves”.
Russia has always denied being involved military presence in Eastern Ukraine. Nor has it recognised the independence of the self-proclaimed Peoples Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
It does, however, propose to take action when something happens to Russian citizens in the area. Residents of that region can be eligible for a Russian passport through a simple procedure since 2019. As a result, the number of Russian citizens in the area has increased.
Two more dead
According to the United Nations, the war in Eastern Ukraine has killed 13,000 people. Despite several ceasefire, the conflict is repeatedly flaring up. The last few weeks have been the deadliest in a long time: at least 50 people have died since the beginning of this year.
This morning, a Ukrainian military man died in a drone attack in the Donetsk region. Two soldiers were also injured. The rebel army in Lugansk claims to have killed a military man this morning, but this has not yet been confirmed by the Ukrainian army.