NATO Warns Russia Over Troop Buildup 04/13 06:10

NATO Warns Russia Over Troop Buildup   04/13 06:10

   

   BRUSSELS (AP) -- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned Moscow on 
Tuesday not to push its troop buildup along the frontier with Ukraine, and 
expressed the alliance's "unwavering" support for Russia's neighbor.

   In a news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, 
Stoltenberg said that "NATO stands with Ukraine," and added that the Russian 
movements were "unjustified, unexplained and deeply concerning."

   The comments come amid a surge of cease-fire violations in eastern Ukraine, 
where Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces have been locked in a 
conflict since Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

   Stoltenberg called it the biggest military buildup since then. "Russia has 
moved thousands of combat troops to Ukraine's borders, the largest massing of 
Russian troops since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Over the last 
days, several Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in eastern Ukraine," he said.

   Kuleba sounded defiant toward Moscow and said Ukraine and its Western 
partners were better prepared than 7 years ago. "Should Moscow take any 
reckless move or start a new spiral of violence, it will be costly in all 
senses," Kuleba said.

   Stoltenberg will be joined by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on 
Wednesday to assess the Russian troop buildup, among other issues.

   "Russia must end this military buildup in and around Ukraine, stop its 
provocations and de-escalate immediately," Stoltenberg said.

   "Russia has moved thousands of combat troops to Ukraine's borders, the 
largest massing of Russian troops since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 
2014. Over the last days, several Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in 
eastern Ukraine," Stoltenberg said.

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