NATO Calls on Russia to Take Path to Peace
NATO has urged Russia to "step back from confrontation and take the path to peace" in a statement delivered by Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
During a summit held in Wales on September 4-5, the military bloc demanded that Moscow withdraw its troops and put an end to the "illegal" annexation of Crimea.
The alliance warned in the eve of the summit that Russia would be facing increased pressure if it did not backtrack on its actions in the east of Ukraine.
As the meeting of NATO members' Presidents kicks off, the Ukraine crisis is expected to top the agenda, alongside the Sunni militant group Islamic State (IS) ad troops' withdrawal from Afghansitan.
Earlier plans to create a rapid response force out of member states' armies are also to be officially approved, with leaders having agreed on the move in the light of recent developments in Ukraine. Kiev now says it is fighting a "war" with Moscow.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen openly condemned Russian actions in the Ukrainian Donbass region.
"We are still witnessing unfortunately Russian involvement in destabilizing the situation in eastern Ukraine," the BBC quoted him as saying.
He even directly blamed Russia for "attacking Ukraine".
The alliance leaders also met Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who informed them of his phone conversation with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held on the previous day.
After the private talks Poroshenko announced a "ceasefire process" had been agreed, even though he initially claimed the two sides would directly lay down their arms.
NATO later criticized Putin's proposal for a seven-point peace plan that followed suit, calling it "insincere".
The plan included and end of fighting from both the Kiev forces and pro-Russian rebels, withdrawal of the Ukrainian army, international monitoring, no use of military jets against civilians, two-way prisoners exchange, a humanitarian corridor for refugees and to deliver aid, and restoration of destroyed infrastructure.
Some experts have described the September 4-5 summit as the most important since the Cold War ended in 1989.
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