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NATO chief urges Russia to withdraw from Ukraine’s borders

BRUSSELS

The NATO chief Tuesday called on Russia to withdraw its military forces from the Ukrainian border.

“Russia must end this military build-up in and around Ukraine, stop its provocations and deescalate immediately,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a joint news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

The leaders were speaking ahead of the extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which was called to prepare NATO’s response to a possible surge of violence after the latest Russian military movements.

According to Stoltenberg, recent weeks have seen “the largest massing of Russian troops since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014” because “Russia has moved thousands of combat-ready troops to Ukraine’s borders.”

“Russian military forces at the Ukrainian border have to withdraw,” he stressed, adding: “We are seriously concerned by the ongoing developments and NATO is monitoring the situation very closely.”

“NATO continues to support Ukraine,” Stoltenberg noted.

“Ukraine doesn’t want war,” Kuleba highlighted, asking practical support from NATO.

“We do not and will not lose time, and should Moscow take any reckless move will start the spiral of violence,” Kuleba explained.

He also said the extraordinary meeting was meant to avoid the mistakes in 2014 “when Russia was ready to act swiftly and pursue its military goals in Crimea and Donbas, while our Western partners were considering their reactions to what was happening on the ground.”

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