NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that more life is lost in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis as there had been a consistent rise in ceasefire violations, obstruction of peacekeeping efforts and continued Russian support for the separatists. Russia has the capacity to launch new attacks with the existence of its heavily armed forces along Ukraine borders, Stoltenberg said.
Russia is capable of launching new attacks
There have been Russian build-up along the border between Russia and Ukraine, inside Eastern Ukraine with a steady transport of heavy equipment like tanks, artillery, ammunition, air defense systems and separatists receiving training from Russia, Stoltenberg alleged. Russia continues to violate the Minsk agreement not only with its support of separatists but also with its obstruction of full access from peace monitors.
“We have seen over several weeks and months continued support from Russia to the separatists with heavy weapons, with artillery with advanced air defence systems, with training and also with the forces. And this is also a blatant violation of the ceasefire in the Minsk Agreement,” Stoltenberg said during a press conference.
“I call on both parties… both parties to respect the ceasefire. I think now the most important thing is that of course the ceasefire is respected; that heavy weapons are withdrawn,” the secretary general said.
“Therefore we call on Russia to stop its support for the separatists and to do whatever they can to make sure that the agreement is fully respected. They have… In Eastern Ukraine, Russia and the separatists have capacity capabilities which enable them to launch new attacks with very little warning time. So they have the capacity, what the intention is I will not speculate on. But of course it is of great concern that we have seen this steady build-up of a military presence, support for the separatists over such a long time,” he told the press.
Secretary of State meets with Vladimir Putin in Sochi
Meanwhile, secretary of state John Kerry traveled to Sochi on May 11 to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The two men will discuss a full range of bilateral and regional issues, including Iran, Syria and Ukraine, according to acting spokesperson for the Department of State Marie Harf.
“This is part of our ongoing effort – the Secretary does speak to Foreign Minister Lavrov over the phone from time to time, including recently – but this is part of our ongoing effort to have these lines of communication to talk about all of these issues where we agree, where we’re working together, but also where we disagree, like on Ukraine,” Harf told press.
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