NATO Secretary General Accuses Russia of Continued Presence in Ukraine
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia of its continued presence in Ukraine and called Moscow to withdraw all its forces and end its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
This statement came after a meeting of NATO's senior military commanders at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium on Wednesday.
In Stoltenberg's opinion, the Minsk ceasefire seemed to be holding, but remained fragile, while its monitoring at present was “in no way sufficient”.
As regards the withdrawal of heavy weapons, the Secretary General was concerned that it remained unclear where some of the weapons were being withdrawn to.
US General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, stated that the Minsk ceasefire has been successful to some extent.
According to Breedlove, the ceasefire agreement which had been negotiated in February, has considerably decreased fighting and led to the withdrawal of heavy weapons.
The US General pointed that the border between Russia and Ukraine remained wide open, which made it difficult to monitor and estimate the number of Russian troops in Ukraine.
Breedlove urged OSCE monitors to be given full access and freedom of movement in eastern Ukraine in order to be able to examine the withdrawal of heavy weapons.
Stoltenberg expressed his disappointment with Russia's decision to suspend its participation in the Joint Consultative Group (JCG) on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE).
The Secretary General revealed that NATO was in the process of adapting its “defence posture” to address new challenges in the east and the south.
Breedlove identified these developments, which include moving troops and military equipment to Eastern Europe, as the greatest change to NATO's defence policy since the Cold War.
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