SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- The US-led NATO has expressed concern over what it described as a “very serious” buildup of Russian troops and military equipment inside Ukraine and on the border with the crisis-stricken Eastern European country.
Troops, artillery and “very modern” air defense weapons could be seen “both inside of Ukraine and also on the Russian side of the border,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in the Belgian capital city of Brussels on Tuesday ahead of a meeting with the European Union (EU) defense ministers.
“It is a very serious buildup,” he said, calling on Moscow to change the course and honor its commitments under a ceasefire agreement signed between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russia forces in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk on September 5.
“Russia has a choice. Russia can either be part of a peaceful negotiated solution or Russia can continue on a path of isolation. The international community calls on Russia to be part of the solution,” Stoltenberg stated.
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met senior Ukrainian officials in the capital, Kiev, on Tuesday, calling on all signatories to the Minsk agreement to comply with the peace plan.
Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia activists and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Moscow protests in mid-April.
According to the latest figures by the United Nations, more than 4,000 people have been killed and over 9,300 others injured in the fighting. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse neighboring Russia of having a hand in the chaotic situation in eastern Ukraine. However, the Kremlin has repeatedly denied the allegation as baseless.